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O'Connor lights the lamp, Bears blank Gilford



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Winnisquam’s Taylor O’Connor moves past a Gilford defender during the Bears 5-0 win on Saturday. O’Connor scored four goals in the victory. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 26, 2011
GILFORD – Taylor O'Connor scored four goals and the Winnisquam Regional High School field hockey team captured its third win in a row on Saturday, as the Bears blanked Gilford High School, 5-0.

It was the second win over Gilford in three days for the Bears, as the team came from behind to pull out a 3-2 win on Sept. 22 in Tilton.

"It's nice to have those two wins," said Winnisquam coach Cherie Snow. "We played very well on Saturday and I'm very pleased to come up with a win."

Winnisquam (5-3 entering this week) put tons of pressure on Gilford goalkeeper Ashlyn Miller on Saturday, as the Bears piled up penalty corners before getting on the board midway through the first half. Olivia Decormier ripped a shot from the point on a corner attempt with 16:05 left, and O'Connor was perfectly positioned in front of Miller for the rebound, sweeping it into the back of the net for the 1-0 Winnisquam advantage.

O'Connor's second goal was a carbon copy of the first, as this time it was Erin McNamara who took the shot off the corner, with O'Connor burying it from close range again and the 2-0 lead with 10:39 left before halftime.

"We're getting better on corners and we're really starting to get a lot of our goals that way," said Snow.

Kaylee Howard closed out the first-half scoring with just 33 seconds left, as she took a feed from O'Connor on a fastbreak and buried it to put the Bears up 3-0 going into halftime.

O'Connor scored twice more in the second half, as Winnisquam pulled away for the 5-0 win.

"She's been scoring a lot for us this year," said Snow of O'Connor. "On a few of those goals, she was exactly where we want her to be and she was able to finish the job."

Gilford coach Dave Rogacki coached O'Connor last year at Winnisquam and knew his defense would have its hands full with the talented forward.

"She's only played two years of field hockey but she's got such great speed that I told the girls you can't challenge her, you have to try and contain her," Rogacki said. "But she's very good, she has those instincts on where to be in the right situations."

Winnisquam goalkeeper Kendra Lonergan earned the shutout in net on Saturday, as the Bears defense did a nice job keeping the circle clear of dangerous chances in front of her.

It was a much different game from two days earlier, when Gilford led 1-0 at halftime and Winnisquam tallied the game-winner in the final 10 minutes to earn the hard-fought 3-2 win in Tilton.

"That was a very nerve-wracking game going back and forth," said Snow. "It was evenly matched. We dominated some portions of the game, they dominated some portions. But what I've been trying to teach them and show them in different practices is starting to come out in games which is nice to see. We're on the right track and heading in the right direction."

The Bears opened the week with a solid 1-0 road win over Littleton, handing the team just its second loss of the season.

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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