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Young Eagles field hockey make good in opener

Freshman Alyssa Hamberger makes a play on the ball during Gilford’s 8-1 win over Franklin. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 05, 2011
GILFORD – It was an emphatic debut for new Gilford High School field hockey coach Dave Rogacki, as his young Golden Eagles scored six times in the second half to pull away for an 8-1 victory over Franklin High School in season-opening action Aug. 30.

"For the first time out, I thought it was a very good effort from the girls," said Rogacki, who earned his first win since coming over from Winnisquam. "I'm pleased with the direction they're going so it was definitely a good way to start the year."

Gilford certainly didn't have the look of a young squad against Franklin, though the Eagles have just one senior and no juniors on their roster. Sophomore Kelsey Buckley got the scoring started in the game's 16th minute, as she broke the scoreless tie and gave the home team a 1-0 lead. Just four minutes later, Becky Zackorchemny followed suit with a tally of her own and Gilford led 2-0 at halftime.

Rogacki was pleased with his squad's ball movement in the win, and it seemed to get better as the afternoon went along.

"If we keep moving the ball around, it makes the other team have to work even harder to get it back from us," the veteran coach explained. "Franklin has some girls that are very good at stopping the ball and hitting it hard back the other way so we had to work it around them out wide."

The visiting Tornadoes appeared destined to make it a game after intermission however, as Bree Cummings cut the Gilford lead in half at 2-1 with a goal in the opening minutes of the second frame.

But the Eagles had other ideas, with Rachel Blandford giving her team the two-goal cushion back 5:28 into the period and Buckley scoring her second of the day just two minutes later for a 4-1 Gilford lead.

The scoring explosion wasn't done however, not even close. Sophomore wing Alea Webster put on a show, as she scored the game's next three goals – all in a 10-minute span – to extend the lead to 7-1 before Zackorchemny closed things out with her second of the contest and the 8-1 victory.

"One of the first comments the girls made, and they said it during a scrimmage also, was that, 'Coach, we never score like this," Rogacki recalled. "We're playing a whole new system this year so it's going to take some time to really understand it but they're picking it up quickly."

Goalkeeper Ashlyn Miller made four saves in the Gilford net to earn the victory, and the home team held a decisive 14-3 advantage in penalty corners.

"We're fortunate we didn't really make errors inside the circle," said Rogacki.

The coach also lauded sweeper Kayla Orton for her efforts in the win, as she was solid in slowing down and stopping Franklin transition in front of Miller.

Varney Smith
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