Senior Rachel Blandford battles for a loose ball during Gilford's 6-0 win over White Mountains on Sept. 6. The Eagles went a perfect 2-0 to start the season last week. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 09, 2013GILFORD – Suffice it to say, the White Mountains field hockey team has been a thorn in the side of Gilford High School in recent years.
Two years ago, the Spartans pulled out a 3-2 win in overtime over the Eagles. That loss paled in comparison to last year however, when Gilford made the trip to Whitefield. Trailing 1-0 just five minutes into the second half, the game was halted due to a lightning delay, and the Spartans managed to secure the victory when action was called after a 90-minute delay. With those stinging defeats in mind, the Eagles made sure history wasn't about to repeat itself on Sept. 6, as Gilford dominated White Mountains from start to finish in a lopsided 6-0 victory to finish opening week with a sterling 2-0 record.
"We did have a chip on our shoulder coming into this game," admitted Gilford coach Dave Rogacki of the win over the Spartans. "This was a team we hadn't beaten the last two years and I know the girls were really excited to be able to pull out a win here."
Senior Kelsey Buckley led the offensive barrage for Gilford in this one, as she scored three goals – all in the first half. Sophomore Laura Zakorchemny had two goals as well, while sister Becky Zakorchemny rounded out the goal-scorers for the Eagles.
Buckley got things going just 1:59 into the first half, as she went far post on a breakaway shot for a 1-0 lead.
Laura Zakorchemny made it 2-0 with 15:07 left in the first half. Off a penalty corner, Alyssa Hamberger kept things alive nicely in the circle, and Zakorchemny was on the doorstep to finish the tally off to make it 2-0.
Buckley scored twice more before intermission, with an assist from Becky Zakorchemny and one from Logan Baxter, as the Eagles led 4-0 at the break.
Becky Zakorchemny made it 5-0 just 5:17 into the second half, when she took a beautiful feed down low from Emily Wernig and slipped one past the WM keeper. Laura Zakorchemny finished it off with 16:01 left, as she buried a loose ball in traffic for the 6-0 final.
"We played well," said Rogacki. "The girls are going to the goalie better and they're using the whole circle when they move the ball. At times last year we would try and just go right down the middle but now we're starting to learn that things go a little more smoothly when we move it around side to side."
The defensive unit of Wernig, Catherine Buckley and Kayla Orton made life easy for goalkeeper Ashlyn Miller, as the Spartans failed to really threaten the Gilford cage on the afternoon. Midfielders Rachel Blandford and Mollie Dignan were solid as well, controlling possession and linking up with Zakorchemny and Buckley up front.
The win capped off a week that started with a 10-0 win over Franklin in the season opener on the road, as seven different players scored for the Eagles.
"It was a good way to open the season," Rogacki said. "We actually got off to a very sluggish start. We didn't score a goal in the first 10 minutes so I kind of decided we needed a timeout to explain the situation to them."
The timeout seemed to do the trick, as Gilford responded with six goals in the next 20 minutes to take a 6-0 lead at halftime.
"We were just very, very slow and I explained to them what they needed to do in a positive way that we weren't doing in the first 10 minutes," Rogacki said. "They did a very nice job responding."
Laura Zakorchemny and Becky Zakorchemny had two goals apiece in the first half, while Buckley (two goals), Blandford, Dignan, Baxter and Sophie Sherkanowski (first career varsity goal) also tallied.
"It was really great to see Sophie get that goal," said Rogacki. "She's only played the sport for two years and she worked very, very hard over the winter to improve herself."
Miller played well in the cage and controlled the circle, as Gilford allowed just two penalty corners in the big win.