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Eagles win opening round of Carroll County rivalry

KENNETT’S MONICA ANDREANI drives the ball past Kingswood’s Nicole Matarozzo during action on Aug. 30. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 05, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Over the course of the last few years, there's been few rivalries that have been as even and well-balanced as the rivalry between Kennett and Kingswood on the field hockey field.

This year's season opener for both teams was no different.

The game was played on Alumni Field in Wolfeboro on Tuesday, Aug. 30, and it took overtime before Kennett emerged with a 2-1 win to start off their Division II championship defense.

The two teams went back and forth in the early portion of the game, with Nicole Matarozzo just missing connections with Leah Kenison on a scoring chance, but neither team was able to get on the board through the first eight minutes.

However, with eight minutes gone in the game, the Knights broke through, as Sasha McCormack scored Kingswood's first goal of the year, pushing one past Kennett keeper Kori Sandman for a 1-0 lead.

Kennett came back looking for a tying goal, with Elyse Clancy getting the best bid, only to see Kingswood keeper Hannah Bergeron make the stop. Erinn Vittum and Matarozzo both had solid defensive plays for the Knights.

McCormack, Kenison and Jesse Jones teamed up for a good bid, but Sandman made the stop and the lead stayed at 1-0.

However, with 14 minutes to play in the half, Aimee Gutowski ripped a shot on net and Charlotte Walker found the loose ball and tipped it home, tying the game at one.

Kennett's Emily Watson and Walker had nice bids as Kennett looked for the lead following their first goal, but they couldn't get anything past Bergeron. Kenison did her best to get Kingswood back on top at the other end, but Sandman held her ground with a couple of saves.

Rachel Lapar, Matarozzo and McCormack combined for a great scoring bid that went just wide and Sandman had a big save moments later. Kenison and Matarozzo combined again for another bid, but Marina Biggio chipped in with good defense to help the Eagles out. Vittum also turned in a nice defensive play at the other end.

McCormack almost put back a rebound of a Matarozzo shot but couldn't direct it on net and the game ticked down to the half with the score tied at one.

The two teams again had plenty of back and forth to open the second half, with Kenison getting a couple bids for Kingswood and Rachel Samia and Watson getting looks for Kennett. Marissa Nardello made a nice bid for Kingswood that was stopped as well.

Matarozzo had another bid that McCormack tipped wide and Kenison had a couple bids, with one going wide and Sandman stopping another. Brittany Drapeau also had a nice defensive play for Kingswood as the regulation clock ticked down to zero.

The seven-on-seven overtime proved quite exciting, as Kingswood went in quick looking to end the game early, but Gutowski had a couple of key clears for the Eagles. McCormack also had a bid stopped by Gutowski in the defensive zone.

The Eagles got three corners in a row midway through the overtime period, with the Knights making some good defensive plays on the first two and Bergeron also making a key save.

However, the third corner was the magic one for the Eagles, as Caitlin Mulligan sent the ball in to Monica Andreani, who sent it across to Clancy. Clancy then bounced a ball past Bergeron to give Kennett the 2-1 win.

"Everyone's still working out the kinks, but that was a great game," Kennett coach CJ Lang said. "The girls played really well."

She noted that despite the fact that last year's championship team lost a lot of players, the girls are focused on getting back to that game.

"We're playing our game, doing a good job talking and doing the Kennett thing up and down the field," Lang said. "We're a young team, but these girls have a lot of heart and that came out today."

She noted that the kids listen to each other well and work hard on the basics.

"They have high expectations for themselves and they want it," she said. "Yes we're a different team on the field, but we're still Kennett.

"We want it just as bad as last year, just with different kids," Lang continued.

"There are two ways to lose," Kingswood coach Kaitlin Reilly said. "If you don't put your best foot forward and then there's a loss like we just had.

"Everyone worked hard from the opening minute to the closing seconds," she continued. "We worked hard as a team, it just didn't go in for us."

She noted that the Knights would be able to use the loss to build off of as the season continues and will continue to practice the same way they want to play.

"The girls know that we've all got to work together," Reilly said. "Our practices now have a better focus. This is just the start of our journey and if this is how we start, I'm OK."

More Knights

The Kingswood offense struggled on Friday, Sept. 2, as they headed to St. Thomas for a morning game against the Saints.

The Knights didn't manage to get a shot on net and the Saints took a 3-0 win.

Next up for Kingswood is a game at Goffstown on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 4 p.m. and a trip to Plymouth for a 4 p.m. game on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

More Eagles

Kennett had another one-goal game on Friday, Sept. 2, and again came away with a win, this time dismissing Oyster River by a 3-2 score in their home opener.

"It was definitely a good game, the girls came out ready to go," Lang said.

Vonde Saunders scored off a corner from Clancy in the first half to give Kennett a 1-0 lead, which they held through halftime.

"There was no dominance of possession," Lang said of the first half, noting neither team controlled the ball for sustained times.

"But our defense did a good job preventing them from taking a lot of shots," the Eagle coach said.

Clancy then gave Kennett a 2-0 lead in the second half before Oyster River cut the lead to 2-1.

However, an Emily Watson tip got the Eagles to a 3-1 lead. Oyster River scored late in the half to cut the lead to 3-2.

Kennett will be in action on Friday, Sept. 9, at Bishop Brady at 4 p.m. and will host Laconia at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Varney Smith
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