CORINTH – The defending State Class C champion Central High School Red Devils opened defense of their title in impressive fashion Tuesday afternoon.
Freshman left wing Kaitlyn Stymiest came off the bench to score a first-half goal and senior left wing Beth Dauphinee added an insurance goal in the second half as third seed Central eliminated No. 6 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln 2-0 in their Eastern Maine Class C quarterfinal.
Stymiest scored her second goal of the season with 12:24 remaining in the first half and Dauphinee notched her fifth with 24:10 left in regulation.
Central will visit No. 2 Dexter for a Saturday semifinal. Both teams are 10-3-2.
MA wound up 5-6-4.
Central generated 28 shots at goal to Mattanawcook’s six but Lynx junior goalie Sarah French turned in a superb 15-save performance to keep her team in the game, especially in the second half when she made 11 saves on 20 shots.
French had stopped Aliza Underhill’s penalty stroke in the first half.
Central coach Diane Rollins praised French and said she was pleased with her team’s second-half performance.
“We were very sluggish in the first half,” said Rollins. “We switched some people at halftime and the girls worked pretty hard together in the second half. They made some better passes and had better shots on goal.”
Dauphinee said they altered their style of play.
“We stopped playing a defensive game and started thinking more about offense,” said Dauphinee. “We have that problem sometimes, we play too much defense. We started playing offense, making good passes and getting the ball toward their end of the field.”
“They overpowered us in the second half,” said MA coach Dean Libbey.
Senior sweeper Chantel Randall put constant pressure on the Mattanawcook back line with her long, powerful hits.
“Every time she touched the ball, she sent it 70-75 yards,” said Libbey. “We had a hard time dealing with that.”
Junior Kara Voisine made two saves for Central.
Stymiest scored the game-winner off a scramble in the crowded goalmouth off a Brooke Washburn pass to the far post.
“The ball crossed and I just stuck my stick in,” said Stymiest, who re-directed it past the helpless French.
The goal came 4:46 after French had stopped Underhill’s penalty stroke by flashing out her right foot.
“Coach Libbey and my team prepared me for it [in practice]. I was ready for it,” said French.
Dauphinee cemented the win off another goal-mouth scramble as she converted the rebound of a Maddie Dunakin shot.
“There were a bunch of shots and I’m not sure if it came off the goalie’s pads or someone else’s stick. I got lucky and tapped it in,” said Dauphinee.
Central back Whitney Lord cleared a Deni Nicastro ball off the goal line later in the half and Voisine preserved her shutout by coming way out of her net to kick away Michelle Paul’s breakaway in the waning seconds.