April 05, 2020

Belfast wins 53rd straight Ross, Reed lift Lions past ‘Jammers for EM crown

BELFAST – The Belfast field hockey team trotted off the high school field without a lot of emotion after beating Camden Hills 3-1 Wednesday afternoon in the Eastern Maine Class B final.

It was just another victory for the No. 1 Lions, who have won 53 straight games and who, thanks to the win over the No. 2 Windjammers, will try for their third straight Class B state championship.

It wasn’t that the Lions weren’t excited – after all, there’s nothing pedestrian about winning an Eastern Maine title. It’s just that Belfast has been there before.

“It’s not really anything different because it’s happened two other times,” said Jillian Ross, who had a goal and two assists. “But it’s definitely still exciting. It’s my senior year and I really wanted it this year. It’s great.”

The 17-0 Lions now head to the state game where they will face York for the third straight year. The No. 1 Wildcats, also 17-0, beat No. 2 Leavitt of Turner 3-1 in Wednesday’s Western Maine final. The Class B state final will be held at noon Saturday at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Camden Hills, which went into Wednesday’s game with an eight-game winning streak, wraps up its season at 12-5.

It was the first regional final matchup for Belfast and Camden Hills since they’ve been coached by Allen Holmes and his daughter, Jan Holmes-Jackson, respectively.

Brooke Reed scored her fourth and fifth goals of the postseason Wednesday. Her first came after an unusual play.

Reed was standing near the left side of the cage when a ball was tapped toward her. It looked like the ball was going to roll out of bounds, so Reed reversed her stick to keep it in, but also managed to tip it just across the goal line.

“It was an impossible angle,” she said. “Just a lucky shot.”

Ross scored her goal during a scramble after a penalty corner.

Holmes was pleased the Lions made the most of their opportunities.

“Sometimes you get more chances than others and as you move along in the tournament your chances become few,” Holmes said. “You have to capitalize on the ones you have.”

Reed scored again with 13:33 left in the game, a big goal considering Camden Hills started to generate more penalty corners and eventually scored on one with 8:58 remaining when Laura Schelbe slammed an Amanda Kava pass by Belfast goalie Liz Anderson.

Anderson said the Windjammers made some changes to their penalty corners – specially, hard-hitter Kate Fetterman didn’t receive some of the inserting shots, as she often does – and that may have thrown off the Lions a bit.

“That was unexpected,” said Anderson, who had three saves on six shots. “She’s one of their big players and we thought she’d take most of the hits. That took us by surprise.”

Holmes-Jackson said the Windjammers were hoping to score on a corner.

“We just knew they were going to be tough and I thought we played really well,” she said. “We had some chances.”

Dale Winsper finished with six saves on 11 shots.

Holmes said he was nervous to face his daughter before the game. Afterwards, he hugged Holmes-Jackson during the awards ceremony. Wife and mother Ruth Holmes gave each coach a bouquet of flowers after the game, yellow to Allen Holmes and red to Jan Holmes-Jackson.

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