Ashland girls soccer team defeats Fort Fairfield in battle of unbeatens

     FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — With the score tied 1-1 at halftime, the Ashland Hornets pushed their game to a higher level for the first 20 minutes of the second half. They were rewarded with a pair of goals and held on for a 3-2 girls soccer victory over the Fort Fairfield Tigers last Tuesday.

     The defending Class D state champion Hornets moved to 8-0, while Fort Fairfield fell for the first time after having won its first five matches.

     Ashland senior wing Savannah Flint was the recipient of nice passes from teammates on the two scoring plays in the second half. Flint built on her school goal scoring record with her 18th and 19th goals, pushing her career total to 79.

     “We realized we needed to pick up the pace and move the ball quicker,” Flint said of the team’s strong play after intermission. “[Fort Fairfield] is a good team, and the only way to overcome their defense was to be able to pass.
“We work well together and that is always a plus,” she added.

     The first goal, at the 29:16 mark, was made possible courtesy of a solid delivery from senior center midfielder Caitlin Paradis, who won a ball in the right corner, dribbled in and delivered a pass along the goal mouth that Flint ran into and tapped over the line.

     Eleven minutes later, a give-and-go with sophomore striker Mackenzie Carter resulted in a shot from eight yards out that Flint caromed off the right post and into the net.

     “They are quick, they are skilled and they made good passes when they needed to. On a couple of their goals, we missed their marks, and their girls made some good passes,” said Fort Fairfield coach Tom Towle. “It just takes a split second against a good team. Against a lesser team, you can get away with it, but not against a team like that.”

     The Tigers continued to battle and got back to within a goal with 6:31 left after senior striker Chelsey Pelkey was fouled in the penalty area and blasted the ensuing penalty kick into the upper left corner of the goal.

     Fort Fairfield made a strong offensive surge with two minutes to go, and a through ball led to senior striker Taylor Churchill and Ashland goalkeeper Megan Cote nearly colliding near the left post. Cote got there first, slid and kicked the ball out of danger. A few seconds later, the Tigers took their first corner kick of the match, but nobody was able to get their foot on the ball and it bounced harmlessly across the sideline.

    “I liked the way we finished,” Towle said. “We could have given up, instead we found a little extra energy. I was proud of our girls with how they played.”

     In the first half, the Hornets opened the scoring at the 18:18 mark when Carter scored her 19th goal of the season on a shot from six yards out after a scramble inside the 18. Just 1:26 later, Fort Fairfield senior center midfielder Alexis Coiley got free for a blast from 25 yards out that caromed off the crossbar. Churchill eventually got a foot on it, with Pelkey picking up the assist, and sent it past Cote to tie the match.

     Ashland ended up with a 20-10 advantage in shots on goal. Cote had four saves, while a much busier Sarah Watt collected 11 for the Tigers.

     In other girls’ soccer action this past week, Fort Fairfield defeated Limestone-MSSM Thursday, 5-1, with Churchill having a big day, scoring twice and assisting on other goals tallied by Kailanny Hernandez, Coiley and Gracie Griffeth. Jackie Peers scored off a Samantha Zwecker assist in the second half for the Eagles’ lone goal.

     The Eagle girls also played Saturday and Monday, both home matches. Limestone-MSSM downed Van Buren Saturday, 2-0. Peers had a goal and an assist and also combined with Bridget Tompson in goal for the shutout. On Monday, the Eagles were blanked by Central Aroostook, 6-0.

     The Caribou girls stopped Ellsworth Saturday, 7-0, behind a pair of hat tricks from junior Maddie Doucette and sophomore Ashley Matlock. Doucette also picked up two assists. Earlier in the week, Caribou was beaten by Madawaska, 3-2, on a goal by Hannah Nadeau with nine seconds left in regulation. Doucette and Gabrielle Marquis each scored for the Vikes, now 4-3 on the season.

     The Presque Isle girls blanked Old Town Saturday, 8-0, after also shutting out Fort Kent last Wednesday, 4-0. Freshman Madison Michaud had a huge week with nine goals in the two matches, including a school-record six on Saturday. Taylor Williams notched four assists in that contest. Grace Bemis had a goal against Fort Kent, while Molly Kingsbury and Tori Koch contributed one each against the Coyotes. The Wildcats’ record improved to 4-2.

     Easton scored a 3-1 win over Katahdin Thursday behind goals by Lydia Ferris, Abbie Currier and Delia Bonner. Blake Bradley had 14 saves on 26 shots as the winning goalkeeper. The Bears head into the harvest recess with a 4-6 record and don’t have another match until Oct. 13, when they play Van Buren.

     Central Aroostook collected a 4-1 triumph over Wisdom last Wednesday as Kelsey Dominique put in two goals and Molly Anthony and Karli Levesque each supplied one. The Panthers enjoyed a 30-4 shot advantage and after Monday’s triumph over Limestone-MSSM are now 5-2.