Joy And Pain

Westwood High School celebrates the game-winning goal in double overtime while the Falmouth High School field hockey team is left stunned after dropping a heart-breaking 3-2 game.

Stunning. That’s the only word that can truly describe how quickly the great run by the Falmouth High School field hockey team came to an end in Norwell on Tuesday night, November 16.

Midway through the second overtime of a back and forth game, the ball went up the field on the left side, got to the circle and was snapped past Kyleigh Waggett. In the blink of an eye, Falmouth, which had never trailed in the game, was eliminated in the Division 2 state tournament semifinals, falling 3-2 to Westwood in sudden death overtime. Overtime periods are seven on seven in MIAA play.

“Great game, tough end,” FHS Head Coach Courtney Lima said, looking shocked after her Clippers lost for the first time in weeks. The 2nd-seeded squad had run roughshod over the competition through the state tournament, but Westwood was their equal, and in overtime played like the better team.

“We were gassed a bit, seven on seven will do that to everybody. I’m trying to wrap my head around everything right now...Long ride, late start, it’s freezing, we’ve been up since seven this morning and it’s 9:30 now, double overtime,” Lima said.

FHS had set the tone early in the game and carried parts of the contest. However, once Westwood scored its first goal the team’s confidence visually rose and the Wolverines played with the tenacity fitting their nickname. Once OT commenced it felt like Falmouth was hanging on, trying to get to the shootout. FHS crossed midfield just a handful of times in OT, and never put a shot on goal. Meanwhile the Wolverines were constantly making things happen, and if not for the unbelievable effort put forth by Waggett in net the game would have ended sooner.

Waggett put the team on her back, making big save after big save in both the second half and in OT. Her best stops came in the first overtime, first sliding to the post to deny a one-time off a cross, and then a minute later she stopped a blast from the doorstep. She made another big one early in overtime number two.

“She played out of her mind,” Lima said of her goalie.

The play that decided the game started with Falmouth looking to finally get something going offensively. Katie Shanahan fired a pass across the 50-yard line for Avery Johnsen, who attempted to slide across the 30 before cutting into the goal. A poke-check by Westwood freed the ball and began a controlled break the other way. The ball worked up the left side and Lindsey Diomede feigned a move to the inside before sliding a shot back to the near post. Waggett could not get over in time and the celebration in front of the net by the Wolverines began.

Prior to that the game went back-and-forth. Falmouth struck first on a beautiful tally by Johnsen, her second of the playoffs. The sophomore used a burst of speed to open some space and smoked a shot from the top of the circle for a 1-0 FHS lead with 3:05 to play in the first quarter.

The game remained that way until the second half when the teams traded goals in a flash. Diomede got her first of the game with 1:19 to go in the third on a superbly executed penalty corner that saw three players touch the ball before a pass found Diomede down low for the rip that made it 1-1.

FHS did not waver, though. Just a minute later the Clippers cashed in their own penalty corner play that saw Shanahan unload a bomb from up high to put Falmouth ahead 2-1.

In the fourth quarter the Wolverines tied it up early in the period. Mia O’Donnell redirected a shot from the perimeter to make it 2-2 with about 12 minutes left in the game.

From that point forward Westwood had the momentum. Falmouth got some excellent defensive plays from Shanahan, Natalie Bosselman and Grace Hostetter to help keep WHS from grabbing the lead, but the team was unable to get much going on offense. The team’s last good chance came with nine minutes to play on a hard shot by Shanahan that missed wide.

While the end result was wanting, Coach Lima said that she was extremely proud of the way that her team played all season long and in the semifinals. She choked back emotion while speaking about what the team has meant to her.

“Double overtime in the state semifinals, what more could you ask for,” she said. “Best team I’ve ever coached in my life, hands down. Best team I’ve ever coached athletically, emotionally, character-wise. Best team I’ve ever coached.”

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