Concord, NH - The #4 seeded Lady Mustangs took to the road, heading to Concord, New Hampshire for their first ever playoff game, a YSCC semi-final matchup against the #1 ranked NHTI Lynx. On a very cold day with a mix of rain and sleet, Central Maine came prepared for the weather after a week of preparation outside in low temperatures and high winds.
Using a formation specifically designed to force NHTI to play in the middle of the field, the Mustangs goal was to limit the Lynx close-range scoring opportunities, forcing long shots and keeping play at midfield. The Central Maine strategy kept the game flowing more than their previous meetings but NHTI was able to penetrate a good Mustang defense in the 13th minute when Michaella Biron received a pass between two defenders and put her shot into the Mustang net to give the Lynx a 1-0 lead. That lead would hold to halftime, at which point the Mustangs used their warm bus to spend the ten minute break taking the chill off.
The second half saw both teams wanting to gain an advantage with the Mustangs trying to get the game back to level and NHTI wanting to increase their lead. It took 20-minutes into the second half for the score to change again when NHTI went up 2-0 on a goal by YSCC Player of the Year Maura Hart who scored off a corner kick. The Mustangs continued to keep the play at midfield, attacking when they could and had a few excellent opportunities to bring the game back to even, but could not put it in the net.
The game ended with a 2-0 NHTI win but the Mustangs came off the field with their heads held high knowing they played a good game and gave the top team a battle right to the end. Central Maine goalkeeper Ali Sult (Lisbon, ME) finished with 9 saves. NHTI had 11 shots on goal to CM's 3.
Mustangs Head Coach, Rob Rodriguez, commented, "I'm really proud of the way we played, competing to the final whistle against the best team. For the first time ever in our games with them, I never felt we were out of it, even when we fell behind 2-0 we kept trying to create opportunities to score. We had a good game plan, these women executed it to the best of their ability, and they were completely prepared and unaffected by the harsh weather conditions, so it was a good day and they gained some playoff experience, something we have never had before."