July 25, 2021

Belfast to battle for regional title

BELFAST – Among the many reasons for the success of the Belfast field hockey team this season, and others, has been the Lions’ ability to control the ball through short passes.

Two give-and-go goals finished by Brooke Reed helped to boost No. 1 Belfast to a 4-1 victory over No. 5 Foxcroft Academy in Saturday’s Eastern Maine Class B semifinal.

Not only does the win lift coach Allen Holmes’ two-time defending state champs into the regional final – against No. 2 Camden Hills, a 1-0 winner over No. 3 Waterville – but it was also Belfast’s 52nd straight win.

The 16-0 Lions will face the 12-4 Windjammers, who are coached by Holmes’ daughter, Jan Holmes-Jackson, Wednesday at 3 p.m. Belfast beat Camden Hills 1-0 in their only regular-season matchup this fall.

Foxcroft, which knocked off No. 4 John Bapst of Bangor in the quarterfinals, wrapped up with a 10-5-1 record.

The Lions scored three goals in the first half, the first coming 7 minutes, 28 seconds into the game, when Reed knocked in a Jill Ross pass from the right side during a penalty corner.

“She just made a nice pass and I tipped it in,” Reed said. “That’s our strength, is short passing. We’ve scored a lot of goals that way.”

Briana Curry made it 2-0 when she ran on to a longer pass from midfielder Kallie Aldus with less than 15 minutes left, and Stephanie Whittier scored off a scramble with about six minutes remaining before intermission.

Curry and Reed each have three postseason goals so far.

“Everybody’s really stepped it up since playoffs started,” said Aldus.

The Lions outshot the Ponies 8-2 and had a 7-1 penalty corner advantage in the first half.

“I thought at the very beginning of the game that we could play with them,” Foxcroft coach Gene Philpot said. “But as this game got going, Belfast came on a little bit stronger, a little bit stronger. … We just couldn’t keep up today.”

Reed’s second goal came off another pass, this time from Skye Ellis 4:09 into the second half.

Foxcroft finally responded with a Jen Gagnon goal with 24:18 left, but the Ponies were unable to score again despite more dangerous runs on the wings. Belfast goalie Liz Anderson made four saves on five shots in the second half.

“We really didn’t let a lot through,” Holmes said.

Foxcroft’s Renee Maheu stopped five of eight shots in the first half and eight of nine in the second half. Reed’s second-half goal came on Belfast’s first shot, and Maheu didn’t allow a goal the rest of the way.

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