On a warm and sunny Friday afternoon, the top-seeded University of Maine Black Bears field hockey team faced off against the fifth-ranked Stanford University Cardinal. While the Black Bears entered as the heavy favorites, as they were the defending America East champions, it was Stanford who dominated defensively for a 3-1 upset victory to advance to the championship.
UMaine entered the playoff match as the top team with a 14-4 record on the season and had not lost a single conference game since Oct. 15 of last year. Stanford entered with an 8-8 record coming off a 3-2 victory over the University of Vermont Catamounts. Just last week, these two teams faced off and the Black Bears won 4-2 on their home field.
Neither team could get anything going in the first quarter as both teams struggled even to get shots off. Stanford had just two compared to UMaine’s one, leaving the score at 0 moving into the second.
In the second quarter it was even worse for both teams in terms of shooting, as neither got off a shot until less than three minutes left in the quarter, when the Black Bears finally shot one. However, Stanford was eventually able to score on their first shot opportunity when third-year attacker Haley Mossmer’s shot got past fifth-year UMaine goaltender Mia Borley, thanks to an assist from fourth-year defenseman Molly Redgrove for the first points of the game. Neither team got another shot off and the score remained the same going into halftime.
Coming out of the break, Stanford decided to switch their goalie and pulled out first-year Daisy Ford in favor of fellow first-year Kendall Dowd. In the third quarter UMaine had opportunities to get on the scoreboard but continued to miss their chances as the Black Bears had three penalty corners but could not score on any of them. The shots were either deflected or too high that they missed the goal entirely.
While Stanford had very few shot opportunities at just two, they made them count. Mossmer scored her second goal of the day after fourth-year attacker Lynn Vanderstichele found her in transition, and Mossmer was able to get it past Borley for the goal and a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
With just under twelve minutes left in the fourth, Vanderstichele once again found Mossmer inside for her third goal of the afternoon, giving her a hat trick. This was the first one of her career and ended up being the final nail in the coffin. UMaine got a sentimental moment, though, as third-year back Poppy Lambert scored her 22nd goal of the season: a program record, thanks to assists from fourth-year midfielder Madisyn Hartley and first-year forward Julia Ross. It was the Black Bears’ only goal of the day as they fell 3-1 to Stanford.
Stanford barely had any shots on goal all day, as they had just nine in total, but they were able to make them count unlike UMaine, which ended up being the decider. Borley only had one save all game as the ball rarely came to her. The Black Bears could only muster 10 shots all game against the first-year goalies of Stanford, but they combined for five saves as almost nothing got by them.
While UMaine’s season ended in disappointment, they were able to earn three major awards on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Lambert and fifth-year forward Chloe Walton were named the America East’s Defensive and Offensive Players of the Year as well as earning All-First Team for the conference. Borley and fifth-year forward Sydney Meader earned Second Team nods, while first-year forward Mallory Mackesy earned All-Rookie Team honors. The Black Bears coaching staff took home the Best Coaching Staff award as well.