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That's a wrap!

Eagles finish off spectacular season with school's first field hockey state championship

THE KENNETT FIELD HOCKEY TEAM celebrates its Division II state championship Sunday in Bedford. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 31, 2010
BEDFORD — This time, they were tears of joy.

Two years ago, the Kennett field hockey girls couldn't contain their tears as they accepted their runner-up plaque after losing to Merrimack Valley in the Class I finals.

On Sunday, the girls couldn't contain their tears again, but this time it was because they had just captured Kennett's first field hockey title with a 3-1 win over previously-undefeated Bow.

"They were undefeated, but they hadn't played us," Lang said as her team celebrated its title. "It was motivation (the undefeated tag), but we knew our girls were prepared enough to give them a game."

The Eagles certainly gave their fans something to cheer about from the start, as Abby Gutowski slipped the ball past the Bow keeper only 18 seconds into the game to give Kennett a 1-0 lead.

"I don't think anybody plans on scoring in the first 18 seconds, but we've been starting really strong," Lang said. "But we knew one wouldn't be enough from the beginning."

The Eagles continued to pressure the Falcons after the opening goal, as the Eagles got a penalty corner following a great look from Vicky Weigold.

Bow came back with some good pressure as well. The Falcons tested the Kennett defense, but Same Meader, Aimee-Kate Gutowski and Katie Bishop helped to keep the ball out of the net.

The Falcons didn't stop, as they finally broke through the defense and got a couple shots in on Eagle keeper Faye Roberts, but she more than handled the duties, knocking away a couple bids to keep her team in the lead.

Kennett came back and got a penalty corner at the other end but couldn't capitalize and Roberts came way out of her net on another Bow bid to kick away a bouncing ball.

Bow got a couple of penalty corners in the next few minutes and again Roberts was on the spot, coming out to kick one away, while the defense did its job to push another scoring bid out of the zone.

The Eagles came back with some great pressure, as the ball squirted right through the crease in front of the Falcon goalie.

Bow answered with a great bid of their own, forcing Roberts to make a save and then sending a shot wide on the rebound. Meader and Mel Glavin turned in great defensive stops and Walker and Weigold had offensive bids denied by the Falcons. Kennett had two corners in the final minutes of the half, but couldn't convert and the game went to the half with the Eagles up by a 1-0 score.

The Falcons came out with a good effort in the opening minutes of the second half, forcing Glavin, Amber McPherson and Aimee-Kate Gutowski to turn in solid defensive plays to open the half.

The Bow girls finally got through with just less than four minutes gone in the half, as a shot bounced just over Roberts' outstretched leg and into the net to tie the game at one.

From there, things went back and forth at a fierce pace, with both teams looking for the break they would need to clinch the championship.

Bishop had a shot saved by the Bow goalie, while Abby Gutowski's bid was stopped by the defense. Weigold also took a nice feed from Bishop and Abby Gutowski that was saved by the keeper. On the other end, Glavin and Meader helped keep Bow off the board with good defensive efforts.

Bow took a timeout with 10:28 remaining in the game and came out and immediately sent a shot wide of Roberts in the Kennett net. However, Kennett bounced right back with a couple of great chances, with Abby Gutowski leading the charge.

Finally, with 4:41 to play in the game, the Eagles got a penalty corner and though the play didn't go as it was drawn up, it worked.

Charlotte Walker sent the ball in and it was supposed to be Abby Gutowski's shot. However, the senior noticed that Bishop had a better look.

"I saw Katie had a better scoring opportunity than I did, so I gave it up to her," Gutowski said.

"They were rushing fast so we needed to get it off as soon as we could," Bishop said. "It was supposed to be Abby's shot, but I had the open shot."

"When we practice corners, if they don't go exactly as planned, I tell them to do something else," Lang said. "Katie and Abby pass back and forth and they work well together."

Bishop rifled the shot home and Kennett had a 2-1 lead with just under five minutes to play in the game.

However, knowing Bow would be pressuring, the Eagles didn't back down and even added an insurance goal in the final 30 seconds, as Weigold took a pass from Abby Gutowski and buried it for a 3-1 lead, sealing Kennett High School's first field hockey state championship.

"They were hungry for it," Lang said of her team netting the second goal. "They had been in overtime so many times they knew they were going to have to get another one."

With the championship trophy in hand, the Eagles climbed the stairs out of the Bedford stadium, along the way being met by friends and family who had made the trip south for the title tilt.

"It's surreal," said Lang as she soaked in the atmosphere at the conclusion to her first season at the helm of the Kennett field hockey program.

The Eagles finished the regular season at 13-1 and knocked off Con-Val, St. Thomas and Plymouth to reach the Division II finals.

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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