On October 19, 2010, Coach Obrey’s girls soccer team faced Lee Academy in their final game of the season. Sitting at 4-8-1 entering the contest, the Ponies already knew they had missed the playoffs. They won, but the game had no significance.
Or so they thought. With each year the seemingly irrelevant game in mid October of 2010 gained significance. The girls soccer team of 2011 went winless. So did the teams of 2012, 2013, and 2014. Little did anyone know that that game in Lee would long stand as Foxcroft’s last win.
It was not like the Foxcroft girls had not come close. There were the shots off the post, the unconverted penalty kicks, and the last-second (literally last second) game-tying goal and subsequent overtime loss to John Bapst in 2014. Some games were close, but the results were always the same: opponent win, Pony loss.
The 2015 girls soccer season started as every season had started for the past four years–with a loss. After two, they were 0-2. In their third game, they lost 9-0 to fourth-ranked Hermon to go 0-3, and to an outsider it was hard to remain optimistic heading into their fourth contest on September 14, against top-ranked MDI, which was 3-0 and stacked with talented players, including Syracuse-bound Opal Curless, who was named to the All New England Soccer Team last fall.
From afar, the situation looked dire but not from within. “Going into the MDI game, we were very upbeat,” said Coach Chris Wesley, who is in his second year as head coach for the Ponies. “I felt that MDI had a defense we could attack and that we could get some quality shots on net.”
By half, the score was 1-1, an impressive feat for the 0-3 Ponies against the 3-0 Trojans, but it was not enough.
“I told the girls at halftime to look around the field and take it all in,” said Coach Wesley. “There was a crowd starting to gather. They were there to see them play soccer. I told them to think of how long they have craved that attention and how much our team deserved it. I told them, ‘you are tied with the #1-ranked team at halftime, but don’t be satisfied with just that. Continue to play as a team by communicating with each other and remaining aggressive. Finish what we have started and continue to stick to the game plan.’”
As the second half began, the crowd swelled with members of the cross country and boys soccer teams, which had just finished practice. Next the field hockey girls joined the crowd after their game concluded. As the crowd grew so did the buzz surrounding the field. Everyone knew the potential significance of what they were witnessing, but the stalemate continued.
It wasn’t until freshman Grace Francis was slide tackled in the MDI box, drawing a penalty kick, that either team had an opportunity on net. Would Foxcroft erase October 19, 2010, from significance with a converted PK?
No. The ball was cleared. The score remained tied 1-1.
Would this be another missed opportunity, another unlucky break?
The crowd remained optimistic, as they began to chant “we believe that we will win! We believe that we will win!” Deaf to the chants of the Pony crowd, MDI had other plans. They scored. With 20 minutes remaining, the score was MDI 2 – Foxcroft 1.
Quieted but not silenced the crowd urged the girls on. They were down, but they were not out. With each save by Kiara Prescott and with each run on offense, the crowd became more and more excited. Foxcroft was outplaying MDI. The score didn’t depict it, but the Ponies were controlling the game. It was only a matter of time. The crowd continued to chant “We believe that we will win!” “We believe that we will win!”
The Foxcroft attack was relentless. MDI rarely cleared the ball past half field. On yet another offensive run, Kayla McCorrison streaked down the right side and crossed the ball to the far post where Abby Simpson was in perfect position to blast the ball into the back of the net. With 15 minutes remaining, Foxcroft answered. Score tied 2-2.
MDI tried to answer with an attack of their own, but they could not beat Foxcroft goalkeeper Kiara Prescott, who made a brilliant diving save on a low and hard shot. It was Prescott’s 17th of the game. “We believe that we will win!”
MDI’s shot on net was an anomaly in the second half. The ponies controlled the game play. The crowd was now bursting with confidence. The Ponies were the better team. Next, Jenna Clukey would chip a shot from outside the 18-yard line over MDI’s defense and goalie for the lead, and the crowd erupted. There was less than five minutes left, and the score was Foxcroft 3- MDI 2. “We believe that we will win!”
The Ponies could have packed it in on defense, but that wasn’t the game plan. Never deviate from the plan. Always play to the end. Foxcroft had learned that the hard way. They had been burned in the past. Not this time.
The Ponies continued to attack MDI’s defensive line. Up 3-2 and so close to something the team had worked so hard for for so long, the Ponies were not going to let the game slip away. Again, they pounced. This time Grace Francis broke free in the box, beat MDI’s goalie, and shot the ball into the back of the net for a 4-2 lead with less than a minute to play. It was now more than a belief. The girls soccer team was going to win.
Upon the ref’s final whistle, the crowd erupted in cheers as the Foxcroft girls ran and embraced each other. After 4 years, 10 months, and 26 days, the game on October 19, 2010, against Lee Academy was no longer FA’s last win. The girls had won.
The game against MDI on September 14, 2015, may be just one win, but its significance is well known.
The Foxcroft girls soccer team had to wait almost five years between their last two wins. Not this time. After defeating top-ranked MDI on Monday, the Foxcroft girls took on the Dexter Tigers on Wednesday and defeated them 5-2. Jenna Clukey led all scorers with 2 goals. Kendra Ewer, Grace Francis, and Cassidy Panceria also contributed a goal apiece. Kiara Prescott was stellar in goal once again for the Ponies with 12 saves.
It was a week packed with games, and the girls soccer team faced PCHS for their third game of the week on Saturday, September 19.
Confident and riding a two-game win streak, the Ponies easily handled the Pirates 9-2. Leading the Ponies was Grace Bickford with four goals. Jenna Clukey notched 2 goals, and Bernise Bartlett, Jacalyn Pelletier, and Kayla McCorrison added one a piece.
“The girls now believe that they can play with anyone, and they proved it this week,” said Coach Wesley. “The best thing is that we are improving leaps and bounds, and that we have yet to play our best game.”
The girls soccer team is now 3-3 and ranked 8th in Class B. The Ponies are rolling and will face 9th-ranked Presque Isle on Wednesday at 4 pm.
The girls soccer team was 3-0 on the week, leading Foxcroft Athletics to one of its winningest weeks of recent memory. On the week, field hockey and boys soccer were also undefeated, the boys cross country team won, the girls team was second, golf defeated Ellsworth twice, and the football team took down Waterville. A full Foxcroft Academy Sports Update will be published tomorrow.