Ponies pick up EM title
Thursday, October 25, 2007
By Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News - DOVER-FOXCROFT: The third time was a charm for Foxcroft Academy junior midfielder Taylor Dow.
Dow had failed to convert her two previous penalty strokes this season but capitalized with a perfectly-placed stroke with 26 minutes, 19 second remaining in regulation to give the Ponies a 1-0 victory over Dexter in the Eastern Maine Class C championship game Wednesday.
It was Foxcroft Academy's first regional title since 1991.
The top-seeded Ponies, 15-2, will face 17-0 Western Maine champ Telstar of Bethel (17-0) for the state title at Portland's Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday at noon.
No. 3 Dexter concluded a 13-4 campaign.
"I just tried to stay calm and relax and not get hyped up and just pretend like it's in practice. When I get tensed up, it never goes in," said Dow, who works on penalty strokes between drills during practice. "I usually go for a corner. That's what Coach [Gene Philpot] has taught me."
She said her flick that beat Dexter goalie Samantha Conway over her glove "felt good" when it left the stick.
Conway said "I knew it was going left and high. That's what she was doing during practice before the game. I don't know what happened. It just missed my glove."
"That was an amazing penalty stroke. You can't really ask a goalie to save that. It was in a perfect spot," said Dexter senior sweeper Michelle Chapman.
The penalty stroke was awarded when a Dexter defender, on her knees covering the left side of the cage, stopped a Danika Brown shot with her hand.
But the Tigers had plenty of good scoring opportunities and had a decided edge in possession and territorial play.
Dexter had a 24-8 advantage in shots at goal and had 17 penalty corners to Foxcroft Academy's 2.
But senior goalie Renee Maheu made seven saves and sweeper Rebekah Flanders along with fullbacks Wendy Qui, Danika Brown and Courtney Withee and midfielder Jennifer Gagnon turned in exceptional performances defending the relentless Dexter pressure.
"Their goalie and defense kept them in the game," said Dexter senior link Jana Kenney, who produced a game-high seven shots at goal and was a constant threat. "We played awesome. We just couldn't score."
Brown said on the penalty corners, "we tried to read where the ball was going and tried to get to it as fast as possible."
"We know how to jump out on them before they can get a shot off," said Flanders.
Maheu came up with two sparkling left pad saves off powerful shots by Chapman resulting from penalty corners taken by Kenney late in the first half.
After Dow's penalty stroke, Conway prevented the Ponies from expanding the lead with two rapid-fire saves off Gagnon from in-close.
The Tigers pressed for the equalizer and in addition to their penalty corners, earned several free hits from just outside the penalty circle.