The Gilford field hockey team poses in front of the scoreboard noting the team's unbeaten regular season after an 8-0 win over Profile on Senior Day. The Eagles finished 12-0-2 entering this week's Division III postseason. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 21, 2013GILFORD – It's been quite a run for the Gilford High School field hockey team. The Golden Eagles closed out their remarkable regular season with an exclamation mark on Friday.
Behind goals from seven different players, Gilford capped off its first undefeated regular season in program history with a convincing 8-0 victory over Profile School in Division III action on Senior Day. The Eagles finished their regular season 12-0-2, with ties coming against Winnisquam and Berlin.
The numbers from the regular season were staggering for Gilford. The squad outscored its opponents 69-8 over the course of the season, not allowing a goal until the sixth game of the year.
In the win over Profile, a plethora of Eagles figured into the scoring mix. Senior Mollie Dignan got the scoring started just 3:49 into the first half, and classmate Kelsey Buckley made it 2-0 just 47 seconds later.
Juniors Alyssa Hamberger and Maddie Laflamme also scored in the first half, while Logan Baxter made it a 5-0 game when she buried a shot with 4:02 left before intermission.
The onslaught continued in the second half, with Rachel Blandford making it 6-0 and Buckley grabbing her second of the contest for a 7-0 lead thanks to an assist from Marissa Kelleher. Senior Emily Wernig capped things off with 15:30 to play, as she blasted home a shot on a penalty corner to make it an 8-0 game.
The win marked the final regular season contest for seniors Blandford, Kelsey Buckley, Catherine Buckley, Dignan, Kelleher, Ashlyn Miller, Kayla Orton, Wernig and Becky Zakorchemny. This senior class has seen quite a transformation, as the club was 2-12 during their freshman season in 2010.
"They've come such a long way as a group," said Gilford coach Dave Rogacki.
The win came on the heels of Gilford's toughest test of the season earlier in the week. Battling for the second seed in the postseason draw, the Eagles earned a 2-2 draw with third-seeded Berlin at home.
"It was a very good, very fast-paced game," said Rogacki. "It was great for the fans because they saw two teams that play quality field hockey. It's been nine years since Gilford has beaten Berlin. The first year I coached (2011), we lost 5-0, last year we lost 2-0. The big thing is for the seniors, it was good to see them come back again because this was one of the best teams in the state and we were able to stay with them."
Gilford took a 1-0 lead when Blandford scored 16 minutes into the first half. But Berlin tied the game seven minutes later, and the Mountaineers took a 2-1 advantage with a tally 10 minutes into the second half.
But with about 10 minutes remaining, the Eagles tied things up thanks to Zakorchemny, who took a feed from Kelsey Buckley and buried it for a 2-2 contest.
"I think the big thing was after (Berlin) scored their second goal, it was a matter of, 'Guys, we have a lot of time left here. Let's get down to their end," Rogacki explained. "We managed to do that, got down to their end and had some corners and other opportunities."
Neither team managed a goal in the overtime period, though action was fast-paced and back and forth. Miller finished with seven saves in her busiest outing of the season in the Gilford cage, while Orton was outstanding clearing the zone in front of her goalkeeper in the circle.
Berlin finished with 11 penalty corners on the day while Gilford notched five. The Eagles held a 14-9 advantage in shots on goal.
The Division III preliminary round was scheduled to be played after deadline on Wednesday afternoon, with a win sending the Eagles to a home quarterfinal tilt on Saturday afternoon. Gilford hosted a quarterfinal last season as well, falling to Hopkinton.