Eagles score twice in second half, best Knights
KENNETT’S CHARLOTTE WALKER can’t get the ball past Kingswood’s Erinn Vittum during action on Sept. 26 in North Conway. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 03, 2011NORTH CONWAY — The outcome was the same, but this time it was settled in 60 minutes.
The Kennett and Kingswood field hockey teams had to play extra time in the very first game of the season before the Eagles walked off Kingswood's Alumni Field with a 2-1 win, but when the two teams met again on Monday, Sept. 26, in North Conway, no extra time was needed for the Eagles to grab the 2-1 win.
However, for much of the first half, it looked like the Kingswood girls were going to even the score against their county rivals, as the Knights had numerous scoring opportunities.
Sasha McCormack, Leah Kenison and Kelly Wood helped to lead the Kingswood offense in the early going, as Wood had a long shot sail wide of the net and McCormack forced Kennett keeper Kori Sandman to make a couple of solid saves. Kenison had a few drives that were stuffed by the Kennett defense.
Kennett also had some chances, as Charlotte Walker tipped a copule of shots wide and Elyse Clancy and Emily Watson had good bids. Marisa Nardello, Rachel Lapar and Brittany Drapeau were solid in the Kingswood backfield, turning away a number of quality chances from the Eagles.
Kingswood got the game's first corner, but a solid defensive play by Clancy helped to clear the ball away from the net. Kenison and Nicole Matarozzo teamed up with Jesse Jones for a great scoring opportunity, but Sandman was solid in the net and kept the ball away. Julia St. Germain just missed wide on an opportunity for the Knights, while Walker and Stephanie Loynd pressured Kingswood keeper Hannah Bergeron, but to no avail. Erinn Vittum and St. Germain also chipped in with solid defense for the Knight girls.
The Knights were finally able to break the scoreless tie with 4:23 to play in the first half, as Matarozzo ripped home a shot past Sandman for a 1-0 lead.
Both teams had chances in the final minutes, but solid defense on both sides of the ball kept the score 1-0 at the break.
Kennett wasted little time in seizing the momentum in the second half. Walker found Loynd in front of the net just 2:03 into the half and Loynd buried the shot, tying the game at one.
Kingswood came right back, with Kension and Matarozzo getting great chance on a Kingswood corner, but Sandman held her ground. Aimee-Kate Gutowski sent a shot wide for the Eagles on a corner bid as well.
Kingswood got a pair of corners with Matarozzo, McCormack and Jones getting great chances, but Sandman kept the ball out of the net and the score remained tied.
Kenison had a great bid on a hard shot, but Alex Massa stepped up on defense for the Eagles.
With 9:40 to play in the game, the Eagles got their first lead of the game, as Walker again found Loynd for a scoring chances and Loynd bounced the ball past Bergeron for a 2-1 lead.
Kingswood didn't back down, as Kenison, Matarozzo and company continued to pressure the net over the final nine minutes. The Kennett defense had to tighten up and it did, as Amanda Nusbaum and Rachel Samia helped Massa lock down the defensive end. Sandman made a huge save on a big Matarozzo bid in the final minute to seal the 2-1 win for the Eagles.
Kingswood coach Kaitlin Reilly was pleased with the team's first half, but noted that things kind of fell off in the second half.
"Our focus is to do what we did in the first half, which is get the lead and go to halftime and then work like we're playing a 0-0 game," Reilly said. "We accomplished half of our goal."
She noted that the Knights can't seem to get all the pieces to click in place in one game and it's getting late in the season, which may be too late.
"We're struggling to put all the pieces together and time is running out," Reilly stated. "I hope this was a game that gave them a little kick.
"This needs to be a game that pushes them to make a full game of ding what we're focused on in practice," Reilly continued. "We started the game saying 'we can't lose this game,' and we had a hard time finishing it with that attitude."
She praised Kennett for taking advantage of the momentum in the second half.
"If you let up just a tad, it's going to be an opportunity for the other team to come at you," Reilly said. "That's what Kennett capitalized on, as they always do."
"Up until (the Kingswood goal), we had been playing well, but I knew we had a better half coming and they could play even stronger," Kennett coach CJ Lang stated. "In the second half they were a bit smarter with where they put the ball and the way they reacted to the ball."
She noted that Kingswood's goal was a perfect shot and said that Sandman didn't let it bother her, which was huge for the confidence of the team.
"She played a very strong game," Lang said. "As the season goes, she's been getting really stronger. I expect her to do well and she expects it of herself."
Lang praised the play of Clancy, Walker and Loynd and also noted that Nusbaum, a freshman in her first significant varsity action, stepped up and played a very strong game.
"She's been playing well and earned (the call-up)," Lang said. "She's proven that she can handle it really well."
Kennett continued a solid week with a 1-0 win over Portsmouth on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The Eagles were supposed to play at Laconia on Saturday, but that game was postponed due to weather. No makeup date was announced.
The Eagles will finish their regular season (makeup games aside) on Friday, Oct. 7, when St. Thomas comes to town for a 4 p.m. game as part of Homecoming.
Prior to that game, the Eagles will unveil a bench near the field in honor of longtime coach Deryl Fleming. That ceremony is set for 3:45 p.m.
Kingswood had the unenviable task of going up against a strong Plymouth team just two days after the Kennett loss and found themselves down early in the game. The Knights were unable to fight all the way back and dropped a 2-0 decision to the Bobcats.
"We just continued with our second half from Kennett," Reilly said. "We wanted to make corrections today, but we were behind a step today."
The Knights welcomed Plymouth to town and the Bobcats quickly made sure they had a lead, as the visitors scored less than three minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead.
Plymouth continued the pressure, as the Knight defense managed to keep the ball away from Bergeron.
Kingswood did manage some solid offensive pressure, as Kenison, Jones and Lapar all had scoring bids that didn't quite make it into the net. Drapeau also had a great defensive play for the Knights and Bergeron turned away a bid on a Plymouth corner to keep it a one-goal game.
Kingswood appeared to tie the game midway through the half, but Kenison's shot was too high and the Knights remained at zero on the board.
Jones made a great bid on a corner, but she was turned away by the Plymouth keeper. Emily Edson also had a good bid for the Knights, but they were unable to capitalize and the Bobcats took a 1-0 lead to the halftime break.
Plymouth got a little insurance six minutes into the second half, as the Bobcats redirected a shot past Bergeron for a 2-0 lead. The Bobcats kept pressuring, getting a number of corner bids, though Nardello and Drapeau helped seal the defensive zone.
Matarozzo and Lapar had great chances for the Knights in the offensive zone and they were turned away, while Bergeron held strong at the other end. She also got some help from Wood, who turned away a shot on an open net late in the game.
The Knights were unable to get anything into the net and the Bobcats walked off the field with the 2-0 win.
"I know the girls want to make it to the playoffs," Reilly said. "They have to make that want come to fruition with their play on the field.
"They have to be a little more focused," she continued.
The Knights had almost a week off after the Plymouth game and Reilly said they would use the time to get some film work in to see where mistakes are being made and then put the changes in place in practices.
Kingswood will be in action on Friday, Oct. 7, at Laconia at 4 p.m. and returns home to host Hanover at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126