Sandwich Field Hockey Falls In South Finals
By: Dan Crowley
The top-seeded Walpole Porkers had definitely earned their 21-0 record entering Sunday’s MIAA Division 1 South Sectional field hockey game at Taunton. Their passing was precise and their offense fast and well orchestrated while the defense was solid. That made the south final against the third-seeded Lady Knights (19-3) that much better as the last two teams standing in the south went head to head with the win going to Walpole by a score of 2-0.
The Porkers struck first, just 5:38 into the first half, when Brooke Matherson set up Caroline Feeley in a scramble in front of the Sandwich net for a 1-0 Walpole lead.
The game continued up and down the field with Sandwich goalie Stephanie Smith making five very good saves in the opening 30 minutes, holding off Walpole’s aggressive attack.
Six minutes into the second half, Smith went to the ground to stop another Porker bid. At the other end of the field, Nicole Martin pressed hard. Ten minutes into the second half, Meagan Eccleston and Erin Gendreau tried to set up Martin in front of the Walpole net but the Porker defense broke up the play.
With 19:01 remaining in the game, Walpole went up 2-0 on a goal by Matherson from about five yards away to the right side. Sandwich stepped up the pressure with Madeline Klimm and Sam Anderson feeding the ball forward. Gendreau launched hard shots into the offensive zone but the Walpole defenders were all over the ball.
Sandwich had a corner opportunity with 16 minutes remaining, but the speedy Porker defenders were on the ball before the Lady Knights could get off a shot. Smith continued to kick away shots, making a very nice move with 15:30 left with Claire Gauthier jumping into the fray and clearing the ball. Another Sandwich corner opportunity fell victim to the speed of the Porkers with 12:45 left to play as they again stopped the Lady Knights before they could shoot.
Cathy Gaudet and Olivia Howard fought off the Walpole offense and Caitlin Cooney and Maggie Layo pushed the ball forward all afternoon. Smith stopped Walpole again, with 8:45 to play, coming off her line to break up a play and kick the ball away. She once again went to the ground with 5:26 left to stop a shot and then knocked away the rebound bid.
Walpole outshot the Lady Knights, 16-3, and held a 6-2 advantage in corner opportunities.
The Lady Knights reached the South Sectional finals with a 4-0 victory over seventh-seeded Franklin (13-2-6) on Friday.
Sandwich controlled the first half, scoring just 8:26 into the game when Erin Gendreau fed the ball up front to Maggie Layo for a shot from about five yards in front of Panther goalie Kim Peifle. Eleven minutes later the Knights went up 2-0 when Meagan Eccleston made a nice pass to Nicole Martin who banged home another.
The Sandwich offense of Martin, Eccleston and Layo, along with Mallory Whelan and Ally Hir dominated play. They were backed by Claire Gauthier, Gendreau and Sam Anderson and combined, they never allowed the Panthers up for air. Just four times did Franklin organize any offense in the opening half and on three of those occasions the SHS defense of Cathy Gaudet, Madelina Klimm and Olivia Howard jumped them, sending the ball back up the field.
Franklin didn’t manage a shot on goal for the first 27:53 and when they took their one shot of the first half, Sandwich goalie Stephanie Smith easily kicked it aside.
The Panthers found some new life in the second half, opening with a shot and forcing Smith to make a save less than a minute into the action. Franklin picked up the tempo, displaying more energy and aggressiveness, to bring the game into the Sandwich end but still had to contend with the solid Lady Knight defense.
With 8:57 left in the game, Eccleston jumped on a Layo rebound and pitched a chip shot into the net for a 3-0 SHS lead. About a minute later Layo set up Eccleston for her second goal of the afternoon, this time on a cross from left to right that Eccleston slapped into the far corner.
Sandwich outshot Franklin, 7-5, and held an 18-2 advantage in corners.
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.