By Mike Whaley
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Taylar Schoff wasn’t expecting to be a heroine, but since it happened, and in such dramatic fashion, she wore it well with a big, game-winning smile.
It wasn’t anything fancy for Schoff, who was just doing what she’d been trained to do. She kept her stick on the ground and when the ball came her way she was there at the left post to poke it dramatically in. It was the only goal of the game and it lifted the Marshwood High School field hockey team to a 1-0 Western Maine Class A win over Gorham with 10.4 seconds remaining.
The goal barely finished off a win for the Hawks (9-1) in a game they dominated with 17 penalty corners to two for Gorham (9-1). The winning goal came on Marshwood’s 17th and final PC of the game.
Senior Lindsey Poirier had forced the issue with a rush from midfield into the Rams’ zone. Marshwood was awarded a corner and after Abigail Doyle inserted the ball to Hannah Costin, the ball came to Poirier, who was able to put the ball on goal with it finding its way to Schoff, perfectly positioned at the left post.
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“I had to get there and put my stick down,” said Schoff, who had only been subbed into the game three minutes earlier. “That’s what I’ve been working on the whole time; keeping my stick down and tipping it in the goal. I didn’t even know it went in the goal. I just heard the thing and off my stick it went into the goal.”
The win was the Hawks’ ninth straight after a season-opening 3-0 loss at No. 1 Scarborough. They moved into second in the Heal Point Standings behind Scarborough. Gorham fell to fourth.
“I told them this is going to be a pressure game,” said Marshwood coach Lisa Truesdale. “I want you to feel pressure because this is what postseason is like.”
The game appeared headed for overtime, which is where these two teams went last year and Gorham won.
“I had a timeout out left and I was kind of saving it for that,” said Gorham coach Becky Manson-Rioux. “I thought we played very strong, but maybe not as strong the whole game. … I think my girls got a little more shifted wide and that girl who scored was open on that offside post. She was there to make the play.”
Marshwood dominated the possession end of the game after a slow start that saw Gorham come out and carry play over the first eight minutes.
But once the Hawks earned their first corner, the tide shifted and the carried the best of the play for the most part from there.
“We had the momentum. We had the upside on corners,” Poirier said. “We just didn’t finish in the circle. We had so many chances. It’s sad it came down to the 10 seconds. I’ll take that over overtime.”
Marshwood had seven of its 17 penalty corners in the opening half. Three resulted in near scoring misses. One was a shot by Elaine Bachelder, which Gorham goalie Megan Baker stopped. Two other opportunities were Poirier shots from atop the circle that Claudia Folger nearly pounced on and put in inside the circle, but was stopped by Baker.
Baker played very well and had seven saves in goal for the Rams. Marshwood’s Cassidy Smith did not have to make a save.
The Hawks kept thew pressure up in the second half, but Gorham would not let them break through. Jessica Kimball scored an apparent goal eight minutes in, but a whistle had already sounded to give Marshwood a penalty corner.
Poirier followed that up a minute later with a rocket shot that sailed wide left.
Poirier, Folger, Hannah Costin, Cassie MacPherson and Taylor Gilbert all had quality chances from there, but it stayed scoreless Schoff’s late goal.
“We certainly weren’t capitalizing on (the corners),” said coach Truesdale. “But I like, in the circle, we were maintaining possession and getting the opportunities. I think that may have tired them out. … I was pleased we didn’t got frustrated. After so many corners, teams have the tendency to get frustrated. But they kept that intensity and that yearn for scoring up. Their goalie was decent , Their team was quick to the ball. They certainly didn’t make it easy. It could have gone either way.”
Gorham had two legitimate chances in the second half, both off penalty corners.
“We just didn’t have enough opportunities,” coach Manson-Rioux said. “They were dominating more of the play in the second half. We had a few chances to get it by them, and we missed those opportunities. … I told my girls this is going to be a one-goal game. We’ve had some tough games,. but I will say this is the toughest game we’ve had so far.”
Marshwood is at Windham Monday.