Lindsey Lacasse of Newfound tries to get the ball on net as Gilford's Kayla Gallagher defends in action last week. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
October 07, 2021BRISTOL — The Newfound and Gilford squads have been two of the top field hockey teams in the Lakes Region in the 2021 season and the battle between the two teams on Tuesday, Sept. 28, in Bristol showcased that.
After a first half that saw the two teams tied at one, Newfound scored twice in the second half to pull away for the 3-1 win.
"We were ready to play today," said Newfound coach Kammi Williams. "We knew we'd have to score three goals to win."
"They beat us to too many balls and when we got the ball, we didn't take advantage of it," said Gilford coach Dave Rogacki. "They're the kind of team you have to keep the ball out of the middle because every time it goes the other way."
Newfound had some early chances, with Adeline Dolloff sending a nice cross through the middle and then sending a ball to Cassie Zick, but Gilford blocked it. The Bears also had a corner chance but the Golden Eagles cleared the ball out of the zone.
Gilford was able to score the game's first goal with 12:47 to go in the first quarter, as Olivia Keenan put the ball in the net for the 1-0 lead.
Gilford continued some pressure with a penalty corner, but Maggie Bednaz and Zick were able to get the ball out of the zone. Lindsey Lacasse had a shot for the Bears that was blocked by the Gilford defense. Aly Pichette had a run into the zone for the Golden Eagles but Matti Douville was able to turn the ball around.
The Bears then came through with five corners in a row, with Bednaz sending the ball into Lacasse and Douville ripped a shot wide of the net. Zick had a shot go wide and Kayla Gallagher had a nice defensive clear for the Golden Eagles. Taryn Wernig had a shot for the Golden Eagles that Newfound keeper Alli Normandin stopped and Addy Wernig sent a shot wide of the net.
Newfound was able to tie the game up with just 41 seconds to go in the first quarter, as Dolloff got in on net on a feed from Savannah Bradley to send the game to the second quarter with the score tied at one.
Gilford got good defensive stops from Maddie Guest, Taryn Wernig and Shea Brown, while keeper Lilly Winward, who worked the second and fourth quarters, made a nice save on a bid in close from Bradley. Gilford also had a couple of penalty corners, but good defense from Bednaz helped to keep the Golden Eagles off the board.
Newfound had a corner, with Dolloff sending a shot wide and then Bradley had a bid in the zone, with Lauren Nash-Boucher coming through with a nice defensive stop. Newfound came back with a couple more corners, with Douville sending the ball in to Lacasse and Dolloff, but the ball went wide of the net.
Gilford came back with a bid from Taryn Wernig, as she just missed Emily Watson in front of the net. Wernig and Gallagher also combined for a bid that was turned away by Newfound's defense and Keenan had a bid stopped by Normandin in the final minutes, with the game going to halftime tied at one.
Newfound got a couple of early chances, with Bradley, Zick and Dolloff all getting bids, but Taryn Wernig turning in good defense. The Bears had a corner that Nash-Boucher was able to clear out and at the other end, Lexi Shute and Keenan made a run toward goal, but the Mackenzie Jenkins held tight on the defensive end.
The Bears had a corner that Nash-Boucher was able to clear out, but with just a minute left to play in the quarter, Bednaz fired in a shot on a feed from Dolloff to give Newfound the 1-0 lead. Dolloff had another late chance that missed the net and the quarter ended with Newfound up 2-1.
Pichette sent a shot just wide off a cross from Alexandra Fay and then Pichette had another shot that was stopped by Normandin. Bradley had a centering pass at the other end and then Lacasse got in close, only to see Brown turning the ball away.
Newfound got a little insurance with 9:20 to go in the game on a corner, as Bednaz put the ball in the net following a scrum in front of the net, with Zick getting the assist.
Gilford had a nice cross from Keenan and then had a corner chance that Bednaz was able to push out of the zone. Douville also had a good clear for the Bears and Electra Heath made a nice stop on a run from Keenan as time closed down on Newfound's 3-1 win.
"This team is really good at corners, they're one of the stronger offensive teams I've had over the years," Williams said, noting that the third goal was on a new corner setup the team had been working on. "It's exciting when they take what you do in practice and put it in the game.
"The first goal (for Gilford) was a miscommunication," the Bear coach continued. "But I felt good about the flow of the game."
"We've been playing great, we just have to finish things," Rogacki said. "They had too many corner opportunities.
"Instead of being proactive, we were reactive," the Gilford coach continued.
Newfound suffered its first loss of the season on Friday, Oct. 1, falling to Hopkinton 2-0.
"This was by far the best opponent we have faced this season," said Williams. "Hopkinton outplayed us in the first half. I felt as if we were chasing rather than containing the ball, causing us to work harder and not smarter."
The Hawks scored on a corner for a 1-0 lead at halftime. The second half was more 50/50 according to Williams and again the visitors finished one off in the second half for the 2-0 win.
"This was a big learning game for us," Williams said. "We know where we need to improve in the hopes of seeing them again in the preseason."
She praised the work of Bednaz and Jenkins on defense and Normandin for her best game in net with 16 saves.
Gilford is slated to be at White Mountains today, Oct. 7, at 4 p.m. and will be hosting Mascenic on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m.
Newfound will be at Winnisquam on Tuesday, Oct. 12, or a 4 p.m. game.
Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.