|Dexter edges Lynx to take a final step Tuesday, October 23, 2007
By Jessica Bloch of the Bangor Daily News: DEXTER - For the first time since 2003, the Dexter field hockey team is back in contention for the Eastern Maine Class C championship
The No. 3 Tigers got just one goal, but it was enough to knock off No. 2 Mattanawcook 1-0 Monday afternoon in an EM Class C semifinal at the high school field
Dexter had made the playoffs since their run of four straight Class C state titles ended in 2003 — the Tigers also won the championship in 1998 — but the Tigers seemed to stall recently in the postseason
Dexter's seniors haven't made it past the semifinals in their four years
"This is the first time we've made it past the second game [of the playoffs]," said Denise Robinson, who is one of those Tiger seniors. "We've had a second-game curse. It always gets us, but not anymore."
Next up for the 13-3 Tigers is No. 1 Foxcroft Academy, which beat two-time defending Class C state champ Central of Corinth 1-0 in overtime Saturday. Dexter and Foxcroft will play Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Dover-Foxcroft
The Tigers fell to the Ponies by scores of 2-1 and 1-0 in the regular season
Jess Mason recorded the game-winning goal for Dexter, which dominated and possessed the ball most of the game despite the close score
The Tigers outshot the Lynx 13-5 and had 16 penalty corners to two for Mattanawcook
"We've been working together all year and we've been striving to get better," said senior Jana Kenney. "Now it's just coming together and we're starting to work together as a team."
Dexter kept it in the circle for long stretches as Mattanawcook (14-2) had trouble clearing the ball, which was how Mason ended up with the goal
The Lynx hit a clearing ball out of the circle, but Kenney stopped the ball from exiting the area. She sent a pass back inside for Mason, who was at the right post and put the ball in the cage
Mason's goal was the Tigers' fifth shot of the game, and it came with 11:17 left in the first half
"I just had to aim a little past the goalie and I shot it in," Mason said. "… One of our things is, if we stop being nervous we play better."
MA didn't get its first penalty corner until there were 10 minutes left in the game. Libbey called a timeout to discuss the play
The corner started out perfectly as Michelle Paul's inserting ball went up to Kristy Burleigh. She stopped the ball and passed it back inside but none of the Lynx players could settle it, and the ball rolled out of bounds
"That's kind of what we've done all year," MA coach Dean Libbey said. "We get so excited when we get in front of the goal that instead of controlling the ball we take wild swings at it. Sometimes we connect, sometimes we don't."
Mattanawcook Academy's Bree Hanscom (on left) and Dexter's Jana Kenney (right) struggle to gain control of the ball during Monday's semifinal field hockey game at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln. (Bangor Daily News/Kate Collins)
Dexter's Courtney Lougee, on left, tries to retrieve the ball from Mattanawcook's Michelle Paul during Monday's semifinal game in Lincoln. (Bangor Daily News/Kate Collins)
Mattanawcook went offensive in the last few minutes, but Dexter goalie Sam Conway (five saves) kicked away at least one shot and the Tigers were able to clear the ball at the end of the game
"I told the girls before the game they were fast and probably quicker than we were," Libbey said. "We had to try to hold our own and take advantage of every opportunity that we were going to get. … We had few and we didn't execute them."
For all of Dexter's corners, the Tigers couldn't get much past MA goalie Sarah French, who had eight saves
"I think we get a little panicky on corners," Robinson said. "We mostly score off bringing it down the field and shoving it in the goal instead of having something well-planned out."
Monday's game was rescheduled from Saturday because of a death in the family of one of the Dexter players.