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Meserve, Kelly pace Kingswood past Gilford

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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

GILFORD'S Taryn Fountain and Kingswood's Abby Kelly chase after the ball in action last week. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
October 22, 2020
WOLFEBORO — After having a game cancelled earlier in the week, the Gilford and Kingswood field hockey teams were able to square off in Wolfeboro on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The Knights were able to use their home turf to their advantage, picking up a 4-0 win over the Golden Eagles and became the first team to ring the newly-installed Victory Bell.

"They had good connecting today, the team chemistry showed," said Kingswood coach Kaitlin Reilly. "They created opportunities and connected with each other."

"That was a great tune-up for the tourney," said Gilford coach Dave Rogacki. "To play someone that composed and a team that fast, we couldn't simulate any of that in practice."

Gilford had the best of the earlier chances, as they got in the offensive zone early on, including a couple of corners, testing Kingswood keeper Quinn Meserve early on, but she was up to the task in her season debut. Rachael Paraskos helped out with a solid defensive stop for the Knights.

Emilia Galimberti and Abby Kelly combined on a bid for the Knights and Ana Ekstrom got in close as well. Allie Drew also had a shot that Gilford keeper Caroline Guest was able to turn away.

Allison Carr came back with a bid for Gilford and the Golden Eagles got a corner but they could not convert, thanks to solid defense from the Knights.

With 4:24 to go in the first quarter, the Knights were able to get on the board, as Kelly made a nice cross to Ekstrom, who put the shot on net. Guest made the save but Ekstrom got the rebound and put it in for the 1-0 lead.

Galimberti and Ekstrom teamed up on a chance and the Knights had a late corner, with Ekstrom getting off a shot while Maddie Guest had a nice defensive stop for the Golden Eagles. As the first quarter ran down, Gilford got in the offensive zone but Haley Brooks and Paraskos turned the ball away and the quarter ended with Kingswood up 1-0.

Addy Wernig had a shot go just wide for Gilford to start the second and then Kelly and Ekstrom had chances for the Knights, with Ashley Hart and Taryn Fountain turning in good defensive stops for the visitors. Kingswood had the first corner of the second quarter but could not convert and Erin Meyer got a chance for the Knights but Lauren Nash-Boucher was strong on defense for Gilford.

Kingswood came back with a number of corner chances but Caroline Guest held tight in her net and Fountain turned up a good defensive stop as well. Hailey Kelly made a nice move through the Gilford defense for the Knights and after another Kingswood corner, Nash-Boucher stood strong with a defensive stop and Fountain had a good clear.

Drew had a chance for the Knights that Caroline Guest stopped. Carr came back the other way with a chance that Hailey Kelly blocked and Abby Kelly went the other way with Caroline Guest making the save. Lexi Shute had a nice steal and run into the zone while Jordyn Byars made a nice cross that missed connection in front. Gilford had a late corner with Shute getting off a shot but the game went to the half with Kingswood up 1-0.

Gilford came out early with a chance, as Carr sent Aly Pichette in with a chance but Meserve came out to kick the ball away, sending the Knights back down the field, where they were able to get on the board.

With less than a minute gone in the quarter, Ekstrom sent the ball in to Meyer, who sent a nice cross into the circle, where Abby Kelly was able to pop it in the net for the 2-0 lead.

The Knights came back with a chance from Kelly on a corner but Caroline Guest stood strong.

However, Kingswood was able to up the lead to 3-0 with a goal from Drew after a scrum in front of the net.

Kingswood kept coming and with just more than seven minutes to go in the third quarter, Kelly drove a reverse shot from near the edge of the circle to the back of the net for the 4-0 lead.

Gilford came back with a couple of corners as the quarter rolled along, but they could not get the ball in the net. Carr had a nice cross that missed connections and Nia Garland turned in a good defensive stop on a Gilford corner to close the quarter with Kingswood up 3-0.

Maddie Guest had a nice defensive stop on Abby Kelly and Kingswood had a corner but could not convert. Gilford had a couple of corners, with Carr sending a shot just wide of the net. Pichette made a good run in but sent a shot wide of the net and Carr also sent a shot wide. At the other end, Meyer had a shot go wide of the net and Gilford had a late corner that went wide of the net and Kingswood took the 4-0 win.

"We tell them it's not the mistakes that matter, it's what is done after that counts," Reilly said. "Today, the little mistakes didn't matter and they made up for it each time."

The veteran coach noted that Meserve was strong in her first game back from injury this season and the defense was strong in front of her. And Abby Kelly continues to get better.

"It was good for her to get the shutout," Reilly said. "And the defense really wanted it for her. And Abby, her stick has caught up to her feet."

"At Laconia, we were OK on the turf, but they aren't nearly as fast as these guys," said Rogacki. "We aren't used to the turf and were not used to the speed of such fast teams.

"I'm very happy with the amount of corners we got and how we executed," the Gilford coach continued. "And Caroline had 12 saves, that's the most she's had all year."

Gilford was set to open the postseason tournament after deadline Monday against St. Thomas. If they won that game, they'll be playing on Friday at Franklin.

Kingswood will be hosting either Kennett or Plymouth today, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m.

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

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