By James Anderson
FRYEBURG — On a beautiful late summer early fall afternoon with temps in the high 60s the York Wildcats traveled to Fryeburg Academy for a season-opening field hockey game on Thursday and left with a 2-1 victory following double-overtime.
On opening day coaches are hopeful but not really sure what to expect from their teams. These two teams although different in style of play matched up quite evenly. The Raiders, pump, pump, pumped it up and controlled play buzzing the Wildcats goal but were unable to put one past the York goalie who had 14 saves on the afternoon. The Raiders used pinpoint passing to move the ball upfield and center it in front of the cage for their scoring opportunities.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, chose to dribble the ball upfield and crash in on the Fryeburg goalie using the dribble to advance the ball. Fryeburg goalie Bailey Richardson had 17 saves for the Raiders. Time and time again Bridget O’Neill stole and turned the ball around sending it forward to the offense. Fryeburg continually won the race for loose balls and won the individual battles that occur between players in the game of field hockey.
The two teams finished the first 30 minutes of play scoreless.
The Raiders came out in the second half with the same energy they had in the first half and immediately began buzzing the Wildcat cage.
Finally, on a perfect interior pass off a penalty corner by Ryan Duffy, Kristen Wentworth banged the ball in for a 1-0 Raider advantage. It felt like that may be enough, but against a quality opponent like York, you have to extend the lead always, to secure victory. Sure enough just a few clock minutes later the Wildcats slipped one past Richardson for a 1-1 tie game.
It stayed that way as the game clock ran to zero. It was onto overtime for the two teams and their cheering sections. Overtime is fun in field hockey. There are eight minutes put on the clock and the teams play 7-on-7 until a goal is scored which results in sudden victory. These two teams played scoreless in the first overtime forcing double overtime. With eight fresh minutes put back on the clock, the second overtime began on the referee’s whistle. Then with 15 seconds remaining on the clock York crashed in on the Fryeburg goal and Kristina Dangle scored the game-winner.
The York bench raced out onto the field to celebrate with Dangle. To the sideline observer, the extent of the York celebration showed how important a victory the game was.
Fryeburg was back in action Monday when it hosted Freeport (2-0). Results were not known as of press time.
The Raiders are scheduled to close out the week with a trip to Greely (0-2) on Wednesday (5 p.m.) and hosts Sacopee Valley (0-2) on Friday (3:30 p.m.).