BIDDEFORD—Deering’s field hockey team didn’t get to embark on hoped-for long playoff run, but the Rams’ future is certainly bright.
Saturday morning, in a Western Class A preliminary round contest against Biddeford at Doran Field, the ninth-ranked Rams dug an early hole when the eighth-seeded Tigers got a great individual effort from junior Taylor Turgeon to score in the 12th minute.
Then, after producing just one shot on goal in the first half, Deering was far more competitive in the second, earning four penalty corners, but the Rams could never break through.
Biddeford would hold on for a 1-0 victory, improved to 7-8 and advanced to face top-ranked, undefeated, two-time defending regional champion Scarborough in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, ending Deering’s season at 6-7-2 in the process.
“The goal for me coming into the year was making it to the playoffs,” said Rams coach Liz Koharian. “I would have loved to go further, but we’ll learn from this experience going into next year.”
Biddeford and Deering jump started the preliminary round Saturday morning and both squads felt they had what it took to advance.
Both teams were up and down in the regular season, as the Tigers finished 6-8, while the Rams went 6-6-2.
The lone regular season meeting saw Biddeford win at home, 2-1, but that was way back on Sept. 10.
The teams had split two prior playoff encounters, with the Tigers taking a 1-0 quarterfinal decision in 1991 and the Rams winning by a 2-0 decision in the same round 11 years later.
Saturday, there wasn’t much separation, but Biddeford protected its home field and advanced.
With the Rams’ attack hindered by the loss of junior sparkplug Kaytlin DiBiase to a concussion, the Tigers controlled play much of the first half, but their early pressure only resulted in a bid from senior Jessica Laverriere on a penalty corner which went wide.
Deering’s lone shot of the firs t half came from its only senior, Rylie Turner, in the 11th minute, but it too went wide.
With 18:02 to play in the first half, Biddeford struck.
Turgeon got the ball just inside the 50, eluded one defender, then dribbled through the legs of another before going one on one with Rams sophomore goalie Lillian Frager and firing a shot past her for a 1-0 advantage.
The Tigers would take that lead to halftime, but the Rams were still very much in the game.
Early in the second half, Biddeford did everything it could to earn some breathing room, but Frager made a terrific kick save on a shot in front from junior Charlotte White and a blast from Turgeon went just wide.
Deering got its offense going with just over 20 minutes remaining, earning a penalty corner, but a Turner shot was blocked.
Seconds later, the Rams had their best chance, as junior Kerry Wells got the ball in front and looked to rattle the cage, but Tigers senior goalie Marissa Heffernan stopped the bid.
“We were much better in the second half,” Koharian said.
With 18:30 to go, Heffernan saved a blast from Deering sophomore McKenzie Cote.
With 5:31 to play, a shot on a corner from Turner was blocked.
With just over two minutes left, Frager made consecutive saves on Turgeon to keep the Rams’ hopes flickering.
Then, with time winding down and with desperation setting in, Deering made one more rush, earned one final corner and with just over a minute to play was left frustrated when Biddeford managed to clear the ball.
The Tigers ran out the clock from there and survived and advanced, 1-0.
“Maybe it’s hard getting used to the playoff atmosphere,” Koharian said. “Most of these girls haven’t played in the playoffs before. This was new for them. This was a learning experience. We worked hard. We worked hard to get here and we made it.”
Biddeford had a 12-6 shots advantage and finished with eight corners to six for Deering.
Heffernan made two saves for the Tigers, while Frager kept the Rams in the game with five key stops.
“Lillian really stepped up this season,” Koharian said. “She has great hand-eye coordination. I’m excited to see her play in the future.”
Biddeford will have its hands full in the next round as Scarborough has been invincible in conference play dating back to 2010 and capped this season with 14 more victories, extending its regular season unbeaten streak to 61 games.
The Red Storm have also won their last six regional playoff games and will be heavy favorites when the Tigers come calling Wednesday at 6 p.m.
In the regular season, Scarborough handled visiting Biddeford (8-0). The Red Storm beat the Tigers, 2-0, in the 2007 quarterfinals and 2-0 in the 2008 quarterfinals.
Deering, meanwhile, expects to get back to this point next fall and take it a step or two further.
“We only lose Rylie and we’ll definitely miss her, but we’re resilient and tough,” said Koharian. “Next year I want to get back to the playoffs and keep going.”
Deering junior Lili Kien chases down a loose ball.
Deering junior Emily Krabbe fires a shot.
Deering junior Kerry Wells runs down a loose ball after a Biddeford player falls down.
Biddeford junior Taylor Turgeon fires a shot past Deering sophomore goalie Lillian Frager for the game’s lone score.
2002 Western A quarterfinal
@ Deering 2 Biddeford 0
1991 Western A quarterfinal
@ Biddeford 1 Deering 0
Deering senior Rylie Turner keeps her eye on the ball during the Rams’ 1-0 loss at Biddeford in Saturday’s Western Class A preliminary round playoff game.
Derek Carpine photos.
More photos below.