Phillips Academy picked up its first New England Prep "A" field hockey title since 1993 on Sunday.
The Big Blue had to work overtime to do it. Several of them as a matter of fact.
After going to triple overtime in Saturday's semifinal win, Phillips defeated Westminster, 2-1, going to a sudden-victory, or fourth overtime, shootout to do it.
"Our last title came in my second year," said coach Kate Dolan. "It's a totally different game now."
Tied at 1-1 through regulation, with Andover's Hannah Cregg netting the Big Blue goal, the teams went scoreless through two overtime periods.
It remained knotted after the "five-player" shootout, which meant a sudden-victory scenario.
Still, the teams matched goals for the first three rounds. On the fourth, Jacqueline Diffley netted the Phillips goal. Olivia Golini then made it stand, with a heroic save to lock down the title.
"There's been a lot of heartbreak in between," joked Dolan, whose club finished at 15-2-2.
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Field Hockey, 11/22/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
NORTH ANDOVER — Andover field hockey coach Maureen Noone has never been a fan of penalty strokes as a method for deciding games.
After Saturday’s heartbreaking Division 1 North finals loss on penalty strokes — for the second straight year to unbeaten and defending state champion Acton-Boxboro — Noone is even less of a fan.
“Big games like this should be decided in overtime,” said Noone. “You’re putting a lot of pressure on a few girls. I’d rather see another overtime.”
Another overtime probably would have been to Andover’s advantage the way it had been playing following the first half.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Golden Warriors stepped up their game big time in the second half, cutting their deficit to 2-1 with 11:03 to play on a Brenna Keefe goal after a flurry in front of the net. Then they tied it up with just 1:40 remaining on a penalty shot converted by Jillian Hughes.
With the momentum on their side, the Warriors totally controlled the first 15-minute overtime, barely missing a goal on at least two opportunities, and nearly converting two penalty corners late in the second overtime. Andover dominated the final five minutes.
Hughes and Caroline Curtin in particular shined in OT. After the two 15-minute overtimes, which are played 7 on 7, it went to penalty strokes.
Curtin scored on Andover’s first attempt, but the Warriors then missed three in a row, two because of nice saves by A-B senior goalie Hayley Reierson, and the No. 1-seed Colonials converted three of four shots to seal the win and improve to 21-0.
“She (Reierson) has been the heart and soul of this team so it was great to see that,” said A-B coach Mae Shoemaker, who has won four state titles in the last decade. “This was like watching instant replay because we were ahead last year, too, they came back and then we won on the penalty strokes.
“I’m just so proud of these girls. After losing the two All-Americans to Michigan (Maggie Bettez and Leah Cardarelli), I didn’t know how we’d do this year, but the girls really came together.”
It may have been deja vu for the Colonials, but it was far from pleasant for the Warriors.
“This was tougher to take (than last year),” said Noone. “The girls showed so much character coming back and they really controlled the play. I thought in overtime we should have had another penalty shot and that could have made the difference.”
On the positive side, the Warriors (19-2-1) only graduate four seniors while A-B has nine seniors on its roster.
“We have a lot of good young players and they’re chomping on the bit to get in there,” said Noone.
The future, the past
One of the youngsters, sophomore Emma Farnham, played a particularly strong first half and classmate Hannah Littlewood was also impressive.
Andover’s seniors completed a four-year record of 66-9-9. Over the last eight years, Andover field hockey is 149-12-12 with two state titles and five appearances in the Division 1 North championship game.
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Field Hockey, 11/14/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
READING — Whether last year's triple overtime, penalty stroke loss in the Division 1 North Finals is still fresh in Andover's mind is anyone's guess, but what can't be denied is the familiar feeling coach Maureen Noone and her team have now that they're going back.
"They have had returning as their goal the entire year," said Noone. "They are definitely excited. It was hard to keep regrouping during the game.
The Golden Warriors left no doubt in Tuesday's 3-0 win over previously unbeaten Needham, dominating the North Semifinal matchup from the get-go to punch their ticket back to the regional finals.
It only took sophomore forward Emma Farnham four minutes to get Andover on the board. Senior captain Tori Roche fired a shot on Needham keeper Ali Dugan that was turned away, but Farnham was in good position to clean up the rebound.
Farnham added another goal midway through the first to give Andover a comfortable 2-0 lead at halftime, and Brenna Keefe put the game out of reach with another goal off a corner 10 minutes into the second.
"She's done a good job for us all year," said Noone of Farnham. "The first goal definitely settles the team. You can take chances you might not have taken if you didn't have that one. So it really puts you in a nice place."
The early goal put Needham in an unfamiliar positon. Andover may have entered the matchup with an impressive 18-1-1 record, but Needham came in without a single loss on the season.
Andover goalie Megan Hartnett has now recorded three straight shutouts. The junior goalkeeper has kept a clean slate the entire postseason, and recieved high praise for keeping a potent Needham offense off the board.
"She's awesome," said Noone. "She's been incredible. When we get into big games she always steps up, and she's done a fabulous job for us not only this year, but for the past two as well."
Hartnett certainly had help. Senior caption Jillian Hughes was a constant pest for Needham attackers on the defensive end. Hughes led a defensive unit that did not allow the Rockets many good chances to fire at Hartnett. A defensive unit as strong as Andover's has helped the offense to tally 10 goals in three playoff games.
"I think they've been capitalizing when they need to," said Noone. "We have a lot of versitile kids, and we have some really fast wings that have been stepping in and giving our starters a break. We have a lot of depth at that forward line."
Andover now awaits the winner of Wednesday night's semifinal between Acton-Boxboro and Belmont.
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Field Hockey, 11/10/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Unbeaten, top-seeded Acton-Boxboro took out No. 8 North Andover, 4-2, to move to 19-0 in the Division 1 North field hockey quarterfinals. Sara Bagley and Lexi Davidson netted the goals for the Knights, who finish up at 15-4-1.
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Field Hockey, 11/08/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Danielle McAdam fired a pass to Lexi Davidson, who knocked it home for the game-winning overtime goal that gave No. 8 North Andover field hockey a 2-1 win over No. 9 Chelmsford in the Division 1 North first round. The Knights travel to top-seed Acton-Boxboro on Sunday.
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Field Hockey, 11/05/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Cynthia Caruso scored with three minutes left in a scoreless contest to give Haverhill field hockey a 1-0 win over Lowell. The win in the regular-season finale clinched the MVC Division 2 title for the Brown and Gold.
That put the Hillies in the record books on a couple of fronts.
Andover (16-1-1) won the MVC Division 1 crown and Haverhill (10-6-1) took top honors in Division 2.
Eagle-Tribune records go back through the 1989 season and this is the first title of any kind in those 27 years for the Hillies.
From 1989 to present, this is also their most wins in a season and third state tourney berth. The 1996 club went 9-5-3. The Hillies made the postseason in 1996 and 1995.
Sydney Demarais assisted on the big goal yesterday morning. Alex Comeau (4 saves) recorded her seventh shutout of the fall.
The Hillies will try to make some more history in the state tourney. From 1989 to present, their only tourney win was a Division 1 North preliminary round victory over Framingham in 1995.
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Field Hockey, 10/31/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Julia McDonald scored with 7 minutes to play to help North Reading field hockey beat Arlington Catholic 1-0, punching North Reading's ticket to the state tournament.
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Field Hockey, 10/30/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
EXETER — Pinkerton field hockey is going back to the state finals for the third time in four seasons after beating archrival Londonderry 2-0 in Thursday's Division 1 semifinal.
Madison Lolicata open the scoring midway through the second half with a shot from the point, and later on teammate Abigail Amato scored to put the game away.
"We made some adjustments, and she [Madison] did a fantastic job getting the stop and finishing on the corner," said Pinkerton head coach Jen Resmini.
It was a back and forth game during the first half, but Pinkerton put itself in position to score thanks to seven first half penalty corners. Londonderry had a one-on-one chance late in the period, but Pinkerton goalie Abbey Doherty came way out of the box to make a diving save.
The first 45 minutes were frustrating for the Astros, who had numerous chances to score, but were constantly denied by swarming Londonderry defenders. Hannah McGrath and Maeve MacPhail gave the Astros fits on defense, while goalie Rachel Simkevich had another fantastic game in the box.
The Astros stuck with it, however, and finally got one past Simkevich.
"Sometimes we change stuff up and adjust to the team, but for the most part we try to stick with what we've been doing because it works," said Resmini.
Samantha Day and Carly Young each were all over the field for the Astros, recording assists on the two goals while doing all the little things Pinkerton needed to get back to the title game.
The Astros will play top-seeded Winnacunnet in the state title game on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Bedford High School.
"I think a lot of them are focused, a couple have been there in the past," said Resmini. "I think it's a matter of staying mentally focused, and knowing that they can come out and play their game."
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Field Hockey, 10/29/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Andover's field hockey team dominated play but had to settle for a 0-0 tie against Beverly Wednesday afternoon. Goalie Meg Hartnett only had to make one save for the Warriors (16-1-1).
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Field Hockey, 10/28/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Sanborn field hockey's deepest run in the state tournament in decades came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, as the Indians were no match for top-seeded and unbeaten Berlin, losing 7-0 in the Division 3 semifinals. It was Sanborn's first appearance in the semifinals since 1994, and the Indians finish the year 13-4.
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Field Hockey, 10/27/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars