Although Abby Deschaine has only been a field hockey goalie for two years, the Orono High School junior appears to be a fast learner.
Deschaine made nine saves on 17 shots as Orono beat archrival Old Town 2-1 in an entertaining contest on Friday afternoon in Orono.
Orono is now 2-0 while Old Town was playing its opener under first-year head coach Courtney Lanham.
Kilee Bradeen staked Old Town to a 1-0 lead with 3:16 left in the first quarter but Laura Cost-Fitzpatrick equalized just 34 seconds into the second quarter off a Brown pass.
Speedy senior right wing Lauryn Brown also broke a 1-1 tie 1:09 into the fourth quarter, scoring the game-winner just after the two teams returned to the field following a 15-minute rain delay.
Brown burst into the crowded circle after she muscled her way past some defenders and she was eventually able to cut around goalkeeper Chelsey Cote and tuck the ball home.
“The circle is very hectic and it’s hard to stay under control,” Brown said. “I tried to go around the defense and the ball got loose and it went around the goalie. I barely tapped it and it just went over the goal line.”
“We planned for [Brown],” Lanham said. “Some of the girls stepped up and shut her down and others didn’t. The two times we didn’t shut her down, they scored.”
Old Town carried the play for most of the game and had numerous flurries in front of Deschaine only to have the goalie thwart them time and time again.
“She was phenomenal,” Brown said. “Props to her. She has worked really hard.”
“She made a couple of good saves and we couldn’t find the right angle to get around her. She closed off the side,” Lanham said.
Deschaine’s most important save came moments after the fleet-footed Bradeen made a nice dash down the right wing to free herself and then took a shot from the right side that beat Deschaine.
Bradeen maneuvered into the circle and slipped a perfect pass across to the far post to a wide open Karma Ruggeri.
But Deschaine quickly moved across to cut down the angle and made a great pad save to keep her team within one.
“I was a little shaky in the first period but I thought I did really well after that as did the team,” Deschaine said. “I just focused on the ball and making sure people were marked.”
Cost-Fitzpatrick tied it up early in the second period.
Brown cleverly worked her way into the circle and passed it across to her at the far post. Cost-Fitzpatrick was able to sweep it past Chelsey Cote.
“I expect [Cost-Fitzpatrick] to be over there across the circle or at the [far] post. But I always look up before I pass it across,” Brown said.
Brown remained a constraint threat throughout the game with her skill and ability to fend off defenders while Deschaine and backs Hannah Sinclair, Chloe LaBree and Landen Parks had to deal with a talented Old Town foursome of Ruggeri, Bradeen, Maddie Arsenault and Grace Willey.
The Coyotes were awarded a penalty stroke following a scramble in their circle midway through the third period but Arsenault flipped it over the cage.
Old Town attempted 19 shots to Orono’s 12. Old Town had a 12-6 edge in penalty corners.
Cote wound up with five saves — including a few top-notch stops — and made a terrific stick save off Aila Farrell off a penalty corner in the first period.
Orono coach Megan Dreher was elated with the victory.
“We did a really good job with our passing game and buckling down on defense and getting the ball out of the circle when it really mattered,” Dreher said. “Our goalie had an outstanding game. And Lauryn is an outstanding player. It was a whole team effort.”
Old Town was 9-5 in Class B North in 2019, its third consecutive 9-5 regular season, and Orono was 8-5-1 in C North. Both lost in the playoff quarterfinals.
There was no post-season last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic although teams did play nearby schools in a pod format.