Concord, NH - Through a somewhat inconsistent season, one thing the Mustangs have been very good at is focusing only on the game at hand and not looking beyond to their next opponent. So it wasn't until after their 6-1 preliminary round win over Vermont Tech that Central Maine began to focus on it's next opponent, #1 NHTI, a team that has not lost to a Yankee Conference team since 2015.
Mustangs Head Coach Rob Rodriguez commented, "We took away our recovery day on Monday which gave us five days to prepare. They are a very talented, well-coached team, but we knew they would not likely change the way they play because it's been so successful for them and with the top scorer in the league there was no reason for them to do anything different against a team that has not been a serious threat to them. So our plan was to take away their top two scoring options, force them to use their third and fourth options and limit them to long range shots. We didn't care how many shots they took as long as they were from distance because it was easier to get the ball back up the field with a goalkeeper punt than trying to work it through their midfield."
The result was a 50 shot performance by NHTI with 32 of them on frame, mostly from long range.
At the other end of the field, the Mustangs focused on attacking with more players than in previous meetings with the Lynx, giving them the outside lanes to play in while making sure to control the middle as best as possible. In the 16th minute of the first half an attack at the Lynx net caused the ball to come back outside the penalty area and with the NHTI keeper already pulled out of the net, Katelynn Greene (Poland, ME) send the long shot into the back of the net for what would be the only goal of the game. The energized Mustangs then picked up the pace and began to attack the NHTI net with some good opportunities that came up empty.
The second half saw an NHTI team that came out with more urgency taking 29 shots but again, mostly from long range. The 1-0 win by the Mustangs was the first in program history over NHTI putting them into the YSCC Championship game for the first time ever. Ali Sult (Lisbon, ME) made 32 saves for the win and NHTI outshot the Mustangs 50 to 21. The Mustang defensive unit of Jade Sturtevant (Litchfield, ME), Thea Quick (Buckfield, ME), Skyler Henry (Waterford, CT) and Taylor Henry (Rumford, ME) had an outstanding performance in allowing very few scoring opportunities inside the penalty area.
Central Maine moves on to the Final against #2 Southern Maine Community College on Monday, in South Portland, at 3:00pm.