By Gloria Austin
The winning streak was broken at 32 games. The Lady Warriors went undefeated at 18-0 last year and they were 14-1-1 in 2008.
But, the two-time defending Class D champs are still eyeing the goal.
“We’re going to meet and set some goals for the rest of the season,” said Southern Aroostook girls coach Holly Vining. “We still have seven games left and each one is worth something. We need to focus our energy towards making playoffs and getting a decent seed. There are still a lot of teams with several games remaining. Anything can happen. If we are able to hold in the standings, there will be plenty of pressure come playoffs. There always is.”
HEADER — Southern Aroostook’s Mataya Hartin heads the ball against Ashland last Wednesday in Dyer Brook. The Lady Warriors 32-game win streak was broken with a 3-1 loss to the Hornets.
The Lady Warriors, 6-1, felt the brunt of defeat last Wednesday, losing to visiting Ashland, 3-1.
“It was a tough loss, but sometimes a loss can be good for a team,” said Vining. “It definitely brought to light areas where we need improvement.”
Ashland took a 2-1 halftime lead after playing on a rain-soaked field through a downpour in the first half. The Lady Warriors scored the first tally four minutes into the game, as Jasmine Rockwell took a break-away pass from Jillian Diaferio.
“After that, we started to get into foul trouble around the 18,” Vining said. “Ashland was awarded a couple of direct kicks, we got a yellow (card) on one of them, forcing me to take out my attacking midfielder at a very critical point in the game.”
On a rekick, Ashland pulled off a well executed play, as Brooke Labelle sent the ball into the upper corner of the twine to tie the game. About 10 minutes later, Labelle scored on a breakaway and then completed her hat trick late in the second half.
SLIPPERY GROUND – Southern Aroostook’s Jasmine Rockwell goes for a loose ball against Ashland’s Shea Craig. Play began under overcast conditions which turned quickly into a downpour.
“There was no doubt Ashland showed up to play,” Vining said. “They came here to win, and they should be very pleased with their performance. It felt like they beat us at our own game. They pressured the ball better than we did, they won 90 percent of the 50/50 balls, and their passes were crisp and accurate. They basically had possession the entire game. They outhustled us on nearly every play.”
SACS goalie Mallory Lawlor blocked 13-of-19 shots faced.
Vining said Ashland’s defense stymied her front line, as Ashland’s goalie Macie Bellanceau stopped five of six shots.
“Their defense was fast and quickly shut us down,” she said.
Labelle at striker and Kayla Cote at wing caused trouble for the Lady Warriors’ defense.
“They combined twice on the front line for their final two goals,” said Vining. “Their speed overpowered our defense, as our midfield was caught out of position a couple of times and our defenders were spread too far to overlap. We made the mistake of giving the wing too much space. We marked their striker well in the first half, but she still was able to score on a break-away pass from the wing.”
TACKLE – An Ashland defender attempts to slide tackle Southern Aroostook’s David Dubois during last week’s action in Dyer Brook. The Warriors picked up a lopsided 11-0 victory.
Vining decided at halftime not to mark Labelle in the second half to get her defensive line back into position.
“We hoped letting her go would increase our chances of winning the ball and maintaining possession,” she said. “It just didn’t seem to matter what we did. We didn’t play to our potential.”
Despite the loss, the Lady Warriors looked at it as a learning experience.
“I’m in hopes that we’ll become stronger for it,” Vining said. “The girls played with great attitudes and sportsmanship. They weren’t down on themselves or one another at all. In fact, they were congratulating each other and promising to play harder next time.”
The Lady Warriors were without the services of Janel Rockwell, who was out sick.
“She leads our offense, and we could have used her,” Vining said. “Playing without her seemed to affect the girls’ confidence.”
The Lady Warriors came out and played a better second half, but they were unable to make up any ground.
PASS — Southern Aroostook’s Dylan Porter gets a pass off by a Hornet defender during last Wednesday’s game in Dyer Brook.
“It just didn’t pan out,” Vining said. “We stepped it up a notch, but it was too late.”
On Monday, the Lady Warriors shut out host Lee, 2-0 behind first-half goals by Janel Rockwell, who was assisted by twin sister Jasmine, and Diaferio. Lawlor stopped 6 o -20 shots.
For Lee, goalie Felicia Thorton had eight saves on 12 shots.
By Gloria Austin