CARIBOU, Maine — After a so-so first half of the season, MJ Ball said his Hermon girls have been a different team over the last seven matches.
The Hawks proved that Tuesday by pulling off a major upset over top-ranked Caribou in the Class B North quarterfinals.
Olivia Nash’s second goal of the game with 9:52 to play in the second overtime period lifted ninth-seeded Hermon to a 3-2 victory. The Hawks will host No. 13 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, a 2-1 quarterfinal winner over John Bapst, in the semifinals Saturday.
“We were in a low spot in the middle of the season,” Ball said, referring to consecutive losses to John Bapst (3-1) and Caribou (7-2) in late September. “We had to work some players in different spots and do some mixing around, and the girls really responded by working harder in practice and accepting their new roles.
“We had some good results over the past five games and in my mind we were primed for playoffs,” he added.
Hermon (12-3-1) shrugged off the lopsided home loss to the Vikings 3-1/2 weeks earlier by not backing down in the rematch. The Hawks created many good scoring chances throughout regulation and the two overtime periods and controlled play, especially with the wind at their backs in the second half.
The Hawks scored first when Madisyn Curtis headed in a cross from Olivia Nash 6:12 into the match. The Vikings’ talented senior midfielder, Hope Shea, suffered a knee injury prior to the goal and had to be carried off the field. She sat for nearly 14 minutes before returning.
With 10:34 remaining in the half, Caribou notched the equalizer when Willow Whitten collected a rebound and netted a shot after Shea’s direct kick from 40 yards out caromed off the left post.
Hermon regained the lead just 4:34 into the second half when Nash took a through pass from Allison Treat and ripped a shot from 18 yards out that went off the hands of Caribou backup goalkeeper Sage Dubay, who was inserted into the game late in the first half, and under the crossbar.
Caribou’s leading scorer, senior Searra Herbert, scored on a breakaway off an Ashley Matlock assist with 21:14 left to tie it once again and had a chance to give her team the lead on a penalty kick with just 1:46 to go, but the attempt sailed over the crossbar.
The Hawks had the best chance in the first overtime, but Nash’s shot hit the left post and the ball was cleared over the endline. Nash made amends just over five minutes into the second extra session.
“Madisyn kicked the ball over to me and I was one-on-one with the goalie,” Nash said. “I just kicked it from right in front of her and then tapped it in.”
Hermon goalkeeper Megan Chamberlain saved 11 of 26 shots, while Jaelynn Doody and Dubay combined to make nine saves on 13 shots for Caribou, who finished with a 13-2 record.