By Tony Blasi Staff Editor
FARMINGTON — Ellie Pelletier, the only senior on the Mt. Blue field hockey team, has felt a sense of urgency to step up for the Cougars in the postseason.
The forward didn’t waste a minute and scored back-to-back goals to steer the second-ranked Cougars to a 4-1 victory over obstinate No. 3 Cony in a Class A North semifinal field hockey game at sun-drenched, wind-blown Caldwell Field on Saturday afternoon.
The second-seeded Cougars (11-3-2) now turn their attention to top-ranked Skowhegan (16-0) in the A North final at Thomas College in Waterville on Tuesday. Skowhegan knocked off No. 5 Messalonskee, 3-0, in the semis.
“We are so ready to go and give them a run for their money,” Pelletier said of Skowhegan.
Mt. Blue coach Jody Harmon couldn’t stop smiling after Saturday’s victory.
“Everyone did their part,” Harmon said. “They focused on the details. It’s all in the details.”
Those details included Mt. Blue’s passing, moving toward the ball and its defensive efforts to stave off the relentless Rams — all of which impressed Harmon.
Pelletier, who appears to be motivated by time as well as winning, has been leading the charge for Mt. Blue’s offense. She has scored 25 goals this season with no signs of slowing down. The past Tuesday she turned in a hat trick against Bangor in the A North quarterfinal.
Her back-to back goals that came a little over three minutes apart in the second half appeared to be enough to slow down Cony’s endless energy and determination.
“Definitely, because when we scored, there was a shift in momentum,” Pelletier said. “We have the will. We have the heart.”
The Cougars settled for a 2-1 lead at halftime, knowing the Rams weren’t about to let up in the second half.
Pelletier gave the Cougars some breathing room at the 24:43 mark when she scored an assisted goal.
Minutes later, Pelletier scored again with some help from sophomore Rylee Keaten’s assist. The Rams (11-4-1) were taken aback by Pelletier’s efforts, but Cony still pressed on.
“The goals that they got, we were caught off-guard,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said. “That was tough, but this team is resilient.”
“It was a great battle. I am heartbroken for (the team). I wish the (Cougars) all the luck.”
But Daigle’s Rams didn’t let up for a moment in the first half, despite Mt. Blue’s 2-0 lead.
The Cougars finally found a way around Cony’s indomitable defense and scored two quick goals with just over 16 minutes left in the first half.
Junior Madison Bard scored first without any assistance at 15:31. Before Cony had a chance to regroup, the Cougars dropped in another goal at 14:02, with freshman Eva Stevens scoring and Ashley Parlin earning the assist.
It could have been a tie game when Mt. Blue goalie Brooke Bolduc got caught outside the net, but junior Molly Harmon was right there to clear the ball away from in front of the net.
The Rams caught a break at 11:52 when Bolduc was penalized for covering the ball and stopping play outside the Mt. Blue net. Senior forward Kami Lambert took the penalty shot and slipped the ball past Bolduc to knock down Mt. Blue’s two-goal lead to one going into the second half.