Field Hockey shoots for finals

Molly Dore chases the free ball late in the game on Oct. 25 against Shrewsbury.
Molly Dore chases the free ball late in the game on Oct. 25 against Shrewsbury.

Playoff hype for girls field hockey was real and full of excitement as the team made their way to the Central Massachusetts finals.

With a regular season record of 7-4-6, the Tomahawks were seeded eighth in the CMASS tournament. After defeating ninth seed Marlborough in the first round 3-0, first seed Notre Dame Academy (15-0-3) and fourth seed Leominster (13-3-4), the girls made it to the district finals against Shrewsbury on November 9.

The team’s journey unfortunately ended there, as they lost to Shrewsbury (15-3-2) in overtime, 1-0.

Against Notre Dame Academy, the Tomahawks kept up with their opponent throughout regulation and held the score at 2-2, forcing overtime.

“Honestly, I was nervous [and] I had doubts. It was like a déjà vu of last year,” junior Caty Lazo said.

Notre Dame beat Algonquin in the 2012 quarterfinals in double overtime by a score of 1-0. Hoping to prevent a repeat of last year, the T-Hawks competed with the Rebels throughout the game with great defense. Junior Clare Strickland was a key defender for the Tomahawks during overtime against NDA.

“Clare was huge on defense for us in overtime,” coach Daniel Welty said.

The game went to triple overtime, which is when the game turns to strokes against the goalie from seven yards away. Each team has up to three tries to make in strokes (similar to penalty kicks in soccer) in a best-of-five format.

“It was really stressful [during strokes] and I think that our team was really prepared for [NDA] because we practiced strokes a lot and it was obvious that the other team didn’t practice as much which kind of helped us a lot in the end,” senior goalie Abbie Haskell said.

Haskell did not allow Notre Dame to score during strokes, and three goals from the Tomahawks won them the game.

“When we won the strokes, that was a blast,” freshman Lauren Speranzella said.

“We put ourselves in the right mindset to play a good game,” junior Grace Grimaldi said.

The team went on to play fourth seed Leominster on Nov. 5 in the semi-finals.

“Leominster has strong defense and strong goalkeeping, so we have worked on different shooting drills in practice,” Welty said.

The two teams were fairly even during their regular season games.

“We tied them both times [in the regular season], but someone will have to win this time,” Welty said.

The Tomahawks gave the Blue Devils a loss, winning 2-1 and advanced to the CMASS finals against Shrewsbury, making their third appearance in the district finals in the last four years.

The Tomahawks faced off against the Shrewsbury Colonials, seeded third, at Grafton High School for the CMASS finals. The game was a match between the two most recent district title winners. Algonquin won in 2011 and Shrewsbury won in 2012. In the regular season, the T-hawks tied and lost against the Colonials. After a well played match and taking the game into overtime, the game ended with a score of 1-0 in Shrewsbury’s favor.

“We really came together during tournament. We stepped it up a lot,” said sophomore Taylor Long.

Along with success as a team, three individual players were recognized for their outstanding performance this season. Long was the only sophomore in Midland A to be named league all star along with being one of the leading scorers in the league. Senior captains Maggie Wraight and Molly Dore were also named league all stars.  Wraight was also named a Best of 60 player, which is given to the top 60 players in the state.