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Dirigo prelim win
Rylee Litalien (right) of Dirigo scored one of the goals in the Cougars' 3-0 prelim win at Waynflete on Oct. 16. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Ross)
Kelsey Wilson of Dirigo tries to maneuver against the tough Waynflete defender during her team's prelim win. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Ross)
WAYNFLETE -- It's a known fact that the playoffs represent a new opportunity because each team begins with a clean slate. Granted, earning the higher seeding is important in order to secure home games. But that doesn't always pan out; just ask the Dirigo field hockey team.
The sixth-seeded Lady Cougars traveled south to Portland and pulled off an upset against No. 3 Waynflete in a Class C quarterfinal. The final 3-0 score was rather convincing and what made it even more rewarding was the fact that three different players recorded goals. A shortcoming throughout the regular season had been finding out which Dirigo team would show up.
Head Coach Gretchen Errington and her staff pleaded with the team to be prepared to play strong for the entire 60 minutes. The Cougars heeded the message this time and started out on the offensive and ended that way; despite the rough field conditions. The initial tally was by hard-hitting Ellie Wainwright, who converted a rebound, from Kelsey Wilson's shot, at 10:28 into the game. The teams played even throughout the rest of the first half.
Dirigo had entered the game with extra incentive because it was a year ago when teammate Dani Ranger's life was cut short in an automobile accident. It was that tragic incident that was on the minds of the entire team, who honored Dani during every home game by displaying her name in school colors on the chain-link fence facing Weld Street. The spirit of every human being shouldn't ever be underestimated, especially when competing with a purpose.
As anticipated, Dirigo lacked the intensity coming out of intermission and this allowed Waynflete to generate pressure. The Cougars packed it in with Brittney Ellis, Megan Brann and Lexi Noyes, who fronted goalie Amanda Dolloff. The flow eventually shifted, which allowed Ellie Wainwright and Grace Hebert to nail balls out of the zone. This provided the offense to produce several chances. In a span of 2:07, Dirigo scored twice, the first by Emma Lueders off a penalty corner. Rylee Litalien rammed home a loose ball with 4:47 left to play.
Dirigo was on the road again last Saturday to play on the artificial turf at two-time defending state champion North Yarmouth Academy in a semifinal tilt.