AUGUSTA, Maine — It was apparent early in Saturday’s state Class B field hockey final between Leavitt High School of Turner and Old Town that the final score was likely to be 1-0.
Both teams were stout defensively, swarming to the ball and making it difficult to create scoring chances.
But Leavitt senior forward Ava Gagnon was in the right place at the right time on a penalty corner to deflect in an Eve Martineau shot and give the Hornets a 1-0 victory at the Cony High School field in Augusta.
Leavitt, which wound up 15-3, won its first state title since 2012 and its fourth overall. Old Town was playing in its first state championship game since 1988 and looking for its first title.
Old Town finished at 15-4.
On the game-winner, Maddie Morin made the insertion pass to Martineau at the top of the circle and Martineau ripped a low shot toward the goal that seemed to deflect to the cage.
“I just set my stick down flat and it deflected off my stick and went in the goal,” said Gagnon, who was directly in front of Old Town goalie Chelsey Cote.
“I was on pads so I stood in front of [Cote] and covered it so she couldn’t touch it,” said Gagnon, whose deflection went to Cote’s right for her 14th goal of the season.
“That goal gave us momentum,” Martineau said.
After an evenly played first half, Leavitt had the edge in possession in the second half and had a 5-2 advantage in penalty corners.
“We’re a second half team,” Gagnon said. “We’ve scored most of our playoff goals in the second half.”
“We said at halftime that we needed to want it more in the second half,” Martineau said. “[Old Town] was going to come out hard and we needed to come out harder. Over the last 30 minutes, win or lose, we needed to leave it all out there.”
Leavitt attempted nine shots to Old Town’s six over the course of the game and had a 7-6 edge in penalty corners.
Paige Demascio wasn’t required to make a save for Leavitt while Cote had three saves for Old Town.
“It was a tough-fought game,” Old Town coach Courtney Lanham said. “The girls played really well. They had an amazing season. I couldn’t ask for anything better from them. We played more defensively. I couldn’t be happier with the girls leaving it just a 1-0 score. We just couldn’t capitalize on offense.”
“They were the best team we’ve played, by far,” Old Town senior midfielder Maddie Arsenault said. “It was good hockey. They transferred the ball well and [Martineau] controlled the midfield. We had a couple of chances but couldn’t put the ball in the net.”
There were few good scoring chances in the first half.
Cote kicked out a Martineau blast from the top of the circle with her right pad off a penalty corner.
Martineau, Morin and Keriah Marston were dangerous on the attack for Leavitt throughout the game while Kilee Bradeen, Grace Willey and Arsenault were Old Town’s top threats.
A nice passing sequence involving Lexi Thibodeau and Bradeen resulted in a good scoring opportunity for Willey but her shot rolled wide of the far post.
Marston was set up by Martineau for a good bid in the circle but her shot was blocked.
Old Town had a 4-2 edge in penalty corners in the first half and both teams attempted five shots.
Cara Jordan, Daisy Twitchell and Cadence McDowell were standouts in the back for Leavitt while Sydney Loring and Abby Shorette turned in stellar performances in the back for Old Town.