Knights help themselves with two big wins
RACHEL LAPAR fires off a pass during Kingswood’s 1-0 win over Oyster River on Oct. 4. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 10, 2011WOLFEBORO — An important week went just the way the Kingswood field hockey team could've hoped.
In the season's penultimate week, the Knights were able to knock off Oyster River and Laconia to keep their playoff hopes alive and well heading to the final two games of the regular season.
"We needed that," coach Kaitlin Reilly said after her team secured an exciting 1-0 win over Oyster River at Alumni Field on Oct. 4. "We still had an up and down game, but the difference this time was we were able to pull ourselves back out.
"That was a great step in the right direction for us in our last few games," Reilly continued. "It was a great team effort, offensively and defensively."
The game certainly provided plenty of excitement, as Oyster River pressured up to and past the final minute of play in an attempt to tie the game and force overtime.
However, the Knights held tight and walked off with a 1-0 win over the Bobcats to move them to 5-6-1 on the season.
Oyster River came out with a couple of good chances early, but Brittany Drapeau and Kelly Wood led the Kingswood defense and stopped the Bobcat chances.
At the other end, Kingswood earned a couple of penalty corners but couldn't turn them into points, despite beds from Rachel Lapar, Erinn Vittum and Marisa Nardello.
Leah Kenison also sent a shot wide and Julia St. Germain put a nice cross through the crease but nobody was able to tuck it into the net. Nicole Matarozzo had a shot stopped by the Bobcat keeper as well.
Kingswood kept pressuring and that pressure paid off with about 14 minutes to go, as Matarozzo sent a ball in front of the net and Kenison was able to poke it home for a 1-0 lead.
Oyster River immediately came back on the offensive attack, with a number of great chances, including a couple of corners. Kenison and Lapar made nice defensive stands and keeper Hannah Bergeron stopped another bid.
Kingswood had another offensive bid before halftime, as Matarozzo sent a ball in to Jesse Jones and Sasha McCormack. However, the ball missed the net and the teams headed to halftime with Kingswood up by a 1-0 score.
Nardello, Lapar and Wood opened the second half with good defensive stops and Bergeron turned away a Bobcat bid to keep the Knights in front. At the other end, Matarozzo, McCormack, Kenison and St. Germain had good bids that were turned away. Kingswood had a couple of corners as well, but Nardello sent a shot wide on the best Kingswood chance.
Drapeau and Vittum helped at the defensive end with some solid play and Bergeron held her own with a nice kick save. Kenison, McCormack and Jones had good looks at the offensive end but couldn't convert.
Kingswood got a couple more corners and Jones sent a shot wide and the Oyster River defense stepped up to keep things at 1-0.
Lapar and Wood again turned in solid defensive plays and Bergeron made another save as time was clicking down on the clock.
Oyster River got a penalty corner with seconds left on the clock and then earned two more after the clock had expired. The first one resulted in the Kingswood defense stepping up and Bergeron made a key save on the final one to secure the 1-0 victory.
"The focus was to play with the notion that good team defense is going to create good team offense," Reilly said. "I give credit to the backfield and Hannah for keeping that organized."
She also praised Lapar for solid play in the middle of the field to help facilitate the transition from defense to offense.
The Knights then turned around and traveled to Laconia on Friday, Oct. 7, and walked off with a 3-0 win.
The final week of the season included a game with Hanover after deadline Wednesday and the final regular season game will be played at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, as Portsmouth comes to town.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126