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Castleberry Fairs

Offense comes alive as Eagles pull away for win

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Gilford’s Rachel Blandford moves past a Kearsarge defender during the Eagles’ 4-1 win on Sept. 7. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 10, 2012
GILFORD – Finishing on the offensive end is likely to be something the Gilford High School field hockey team focuses on throughout the season.

For one thing, head coach Dave Rogacki admits a lot of it is new territory for his Golden Eagles. Despite reaching the postseason for the first time in 15 years last fall, Gilford's offense didn't score a ton of goals along the way. But fast-forward a year, and the offensive opportunities have grown significantly early on in 2012.

The Eagles did manage to cash in on several chances on Sept. 7, as the hosts overcame an early deficit and pulled away for a 4-1 win over Kearsarge in Division III action to enter this week with a 2-1 record on the season.

"We get so many opportunities to score now but we still aren't finishing as many as we'd like," said Rogacki, now in his second year as coach. "Last year we weren't getting as many opportunities so I think maybe the newness of having all those chances might take a little bit to settle in."

That problem was on display early on against Kearsarge, as the visiting Cougars took a 1-0 lead with 16:13 left in the first half despite being significantly outplayed.

"My biggest worry today was will we come out flat," said Rogacki, whose team had a game earlier in the week rained out and only got half of one in against White Mountains the previous week due to weather. "We go almost 10 days since our last full game so I wasn't sure what we'd look like when the game began."

While Gilford held a significant advantage in penalty corners in the first half (10-1), the Eagles finally scored on one with 6:08 left before halftime. Becky Zakorchemny took the corner, and found Kelsey Buckley in the middle. The ball made its way to Rachel Blandford in front, and the junior blasted it up high for the equalizer.

Gilford scored again just two minutes later, on another corner. Mollie Dignan picked up the assist this time, as her hard pass from distance found Zakorchemny in front, and she put it home to put the Eagles ahead 2-1 with 4:08 remaining.

"We've been having trouble converting at the right time so it was nice to get a couple of goals before halftime," said Rogacki.

Gilford goalkeeper Emily Arnold, the team's lone senior, made a nice save early in the second half to preserve the lead. The Eagles added to their advantage from there, with freshman Logan Baxter scoring from Blandford and Zakorchemny with 12:19 left. Buckley finished off the goal storm with two minutes remaining, as she swept in a pass after a Zakorchemny breakaway to account for the 4-1 final.

"I know with the way we're capable of scoring, it's going to be hard for a team to score just one goal and beat us," explained Rogacki. "We just need to play the way we're capable of playing and we're going to be alright."

The defense, led by Catherine Buckley, Kayla Orton and Emily Wernig, had a solid afternoon, limiting the Kearsarge scoring chances while Gilford held a significant time of possession advantage.

Garnett Hill
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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