It took Falmouth (9-4-1, 7-4 ACL) about six minutes to get going Tuesday afternoon and in those opening minutes Sandwich (13-1-2, 9-1-1 ACL) scored. The next 54 minutes were back and forth as the two neighboring field hockey powers went at each other, with the defense at both ends of the field standing up to the test. In the end it was the Blue Knights who claimed the 1-0 victory, but at no point did the Clippers make it easy.
The Knights had a corner opportunity in the game’s opening minute, but the shot rolled wide. At the 24:10 mark Sandwich had the second of their four first-half corners’ chances and this time they hit. Nicole Martin took the corner sending the ball out to Claire Gauthier at the top of the circle. Gauthier then slid it to Maggie Layo who blasted a hard shot past Falmouth goalie Mary Negri for what would turn out to be the game’s only goal.
The Sandwich goal served as a wake-up call for the Clippers, who came charging back with a run up the middle by Anna Losordo, followed by a chance a minute later by Maddi Haberl. The Blue Knight defense of Mallory Whelan and Gauthier spoiled both FHS chances. The Clippers continued to push the ball forward with good ball movement from Hannah Callahan and Ericka Meissner, but each time they got within 20 yards of the SHS goal, they slammed into the unforgiving Blue Knight defense.
Layo and Gauthier fired long clearing shots, with Martin, Katie Payne and Olivia Howard running onto the ball, but the Knights too were dealing with a stubborn defense.
Sandwich had another corner shot in the opening minutes of the second half that sailed wide. Meissner was getting good runs down the left sideline for the Clippers, carrying the ball deep inside the Sandwich end, but each time the Knights’ defense swarmed down low, breaking up the play.
Falmouth’s best chance of the afternoon to tie the game came 10:08 into the second half when Haberl drove a hard shot at Sandwich goalie Anna Hurley from 10 yards out on the right side. Hurley kicked the ball out, but it went to Alexia Meissner, who sent it right back. Hurley again came up with the block, but the scramble in front of the net resulted in a corner for the Clippers. Losordo took the corner, sending the ball out to Haberl, who slammed a shot off Hurley.
Down the stretch Ericka Meissner, Maggie MacDonald, Haberl and Losordo pushed hard, backing up the Blue Knights’ defense of Morgan Rich, Rachel Pentoney and Kaitlyn Towey, but were unable to get a shot. At the other end of the field Layo, Martin, Payne and Whelan went after Negri, but couldn’t crack the Falmouth backfield of Meghan Burke, Jordan Willis and Losordo.
A yellow card left the Clippers shorthanded in the final 3:26, but didn’t stop the determined play of Callahan and Ericka Meissner, who each made nice plays late in the game.