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Strong first half lifts Eagles past Knights

Joshua Spaulding image
by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

KENNETT'S NATALIE PERRY reaches in to try and poke the ball away from Kingswood's Sarah Bean in action on Sept. 7. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 11, 2017
WOLFEBORO — Last year, the Kennett field hockey team came into Wolfeboro and the Kingswood Knights came out and put a hurting on the Eagles.

Eagle coach Cassie Johansen was intent on not letting that happen this year and when the Eagles visited Wolfeboro on Thursday, Sept. 7, her team didn't let her down, getting out to a 4-0 lead at the half and taking the 4-1 win.

"You need to come up fired up, you need to remember to never underestimate anyone," Johansen said. "Kingswood is really good.

"We may have won but there's a lot of things we can learn from this," the Eagle coach continued. "We're taking every game one at a time, not looking at next week."

"They did a great job, they were ready to play," said Kingswood coach Kaitlin Reilly, referencing her team's Carroll County rivals. "They had a system in place and they were ready and they put us on our heels."

The Eagles got things going pretty early, with good looks from Taylor Nusbaum and Natalie Perry, while Mariah Craigue had a good look in the zone for Kingswood. Amanda Lapar for Kingswood and Eva Drummond for Kennett both were strong on the defensive side.

The Eagles got the game's first goal less than four minutes into the game. Knight keeper Sam Tavares made a save but Nusbaum was there to put home the rebound and Kennett led 1-0.

Chrissy Coffield and Alexa Gutowski continued the offensive attack for the Eagles and Sarah Bean and Sofia Marshall chipped in with defense for the Knights. Amanda Lapar also had a good steal along the sideline and Meghan Lapar and Bean stopping runs in by the Eagles.

However, Kennett was able to score less than five minutes after the first goal, as Perry took a feed from Coffield and put it in the net for the 2-0 lead. Kennett didn't back down, with Perry, Gutowski and Coffield continuing the pressure and Bean was strong on defense. Kennett's Josie Phaneuf turned in strong defense on a bid Craigue made into the zone for the Knights.

With 6:06 to go in the first half, Coffield took a feed from Perry and drilled it home to give the Eagles the 3-0 lead.

The Eagles weren't quite done yet, as Natalie Shaw put the ball in the net on an assist from Ali Burson to give the Eagles the 4-0 lead with 3:58 to go.

Craigue came up just wide on a feed from Meghan Lapar and then the Knights had a corner chance that Meghan Lapar sent wide of the net. Ginny Skelley also had a bid for the Knights that the Kennett defense stopped and the game went to the half with the Eagles up 4-0.

Kennett had an early corner in the second half and sent the ball through the crease. Gutowski and Coffield just missed on a bid and Skelley had a shot at the other end that Kennett keeper Hannah Frittenburg turned away. Kingswood had a penalty corner chance but Drummond came up with a solid defensive stop for the Eagles.

The Knights got their first goal of the game with 22:40 to go in the game, as Marshall ripped a shot from the edge of the circle and into the net to cut the lead to 4-1.

Kingswood came back with more pressure, getting another corner and Meghan Lapar sent a ball in that Jill Blocher tipped just wide of the net. Phaneuf also turned in good defense for the Eagles. Hill had a good ball in to the net that Tavares stopped and at the other end, Craigue sent a ball through the crease and Drummond made a nice defensive stop on Meghan Lapar.

Olivia Gagnon and Coffield continued with good pressure for Kennett and then the Eagles got a pair of penalty corners, with Hill and Coffield coming close on one defense and then Coffield getting another bid that Tavares made a nice save on. Bean and Amanda Lapar had good clears for the Knights and then Perry had a ball go wide for the Eagles. Meghan Lapar and Blocher teamed up for another bid that went wide and the Eagles held on for the 4-1 win.

"We're building a foundation to get where we want to be," Johansen said. "It's such a good feeling when you feel confident putting everyone out there."

She praised the unity that the team has developed at the start of the season, noting this group seems to have the same goal in mind.

"They are one unite with one goal and everyone works well with each other," Johansen stated. "And that shows on the field. It's nice to see the progress."

"The second half was how we were hoping to play the whole game," said Reilly. "They made the changes and were able to rise above."

But she also noted that there were plenty of lessons to take from the contest.

"There are a lot of lessons in the game for us to move forward and grow from," she stated. "I think this is a game we can learn a lot from and refer back to.

"But I am proud of how they responded in the second half," Reilly added.

Kennett will be back in action on Monday, Sept. 18, hosting Merrimack Valley and on Wednesday, Sept. 20, will be at Berlin, both at 4 p.m.

Kingswood is scheduled to be hosting Derryfield on Monday, Sept. 18, at 4 p.m. and will be at St. Thomas at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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