ST. AGATHA, Maine – It isn’t the outcome many anticipated, but the Ashland Hornets and their fans are not complaining about a 2-1 semifinal win over the second seed Wisdom Pioneers in overtime Friday.
Wisdom had been undefeated up until now, and bested the No. 3 Hornets twice in the regular season .
Ashland will challenge Number 1 Penobscot Valley in the Class D North regional championship. The teams met last year in the semifinals when the Howlers slid past the Hornets in penalty kicks.
Hornet Kayla MaClean scored in the first half off a corner kick. Wisdom’s Lilly Roy came through in the clutch tying things up 1-1 with just a minute left in regulation. Izzy Ayotte would score the game winning goal in the final five minutes of sudden death overtime.
Ashland Coach Peter Belskis registered his 463rd win as a soccer coach with Friday’s game in St. Agatha, but credits his players for the hard fought victory over the Pioneers.
“The last three times we walked across this field with our heads down. This time we’re going to know we beat a great team but we are a great team ourselves,” Belskis told his players in a post-game huddle.
Belskis praised the Hornets defense for keeping the Pioneers at bay, including goalkeeper Michaela Carney, sweeper Darby Clark and Abby Cote, who guarded all state athlete Abbie Lerman.
“She is one of the best scorers in the history of Class D,” Belskis said of Lerman. “Our Abby played her so tough. Had she scored, we would have lost the game.”
Belskis said Wisdom was the team to beat.
“This is the team everybody said was going to the State finals this year. All the accolades go to them. Coach Clavette does a great job with them,” Belskis said. “Our kids learned today its great to win but also humility because it very well could have been us on the other side of that ledger.”