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Tie keeps Knights in the playoff picture

Field hockey squad opens the Division II tournament today

SENIORS (l to r) Hannah Bergeron, Brittany Drapeau, Sasha McCormack and Leah Kenison pose for a photo prior to their game with Hanover on Oct. 12. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 17, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Two is better than none and in the case of the Kingswood field hockey team, two may have been just enough.

The Knights entered the final week of the regular season on the playoff bubble. They managed to salvage two points from a 1-1 tie with Hanover on Wednesday, Oct. 12, and dropped a 2-0 decision to fellow bubble-sitter Portsmouth in the pouring rain on Friday, Oct. 14.

The two points from the Hanover win appeared to be just enough to keep the Knights in the Division II playoff picture. They will open the tournament at St. Thomas today, Oct. 20, at 3:30 p.m.

The Knights played host to Portsmouth at Alumni Field on Friday, Oct. 14, and played exclusively in the rain, as Mother Nature delivered everything from a slight drizzle to drenching downpours throughout the 60 minutes.

The two teams battled back and forth evenly over the first half, as both teams had plenty of chances to get on the scoreboard.

Brittany Drapeau turned in two solid defensive plays for the Knights, while Nicole Matarozzo, Leah Kenison and Emily Edson had bids for the Knights in their offensive zone.

Portsmouth got the game's first penalty corner, but Kingswood responded right away with a pair of corners of their own. Erinn Vittum had a good bid on the first one and the second one featured a lot of Kingswood pressure, but the Knights were unable to capitalize and the Clippers pushed the ball out of the zone.

The visitors came down the field with some pressure, including a great cross on which Kingswood keeper Hannah Bergeron made a nice save. Drapeau also turned in another solid effort on the defensive end and the two teams went to a shortened halftime with the score knotted at zero.

The two teams again went back and forth early in the second half, with Rachel Lapar turning a good defensive effort for the Knights, while Vittum did the same on a Portsmouth penalty corner chance.

The Clippers got the game's first goal about 10 minutes into the half, slipping one by Bergeron for a 1-0 lead.

Kingswood came right back with offensive pressure, as Kenison made a good bid and the Knights also had a corner chance turned away by the defense.

The Clippers came back down the field and Bergeron made a big save. The Clippers also sent one wide of the net on a corner chance.

With about five minutes left in the half, the Clippers were awarded a penalty shot and rifled the ball home for a 2-0 lead.

Kingswood fought right back, with Kenison and Sasha McCormack getting bids.

The Knights got a penalty shot chance of their own just two minutes after the Clippers did. Kenison did the honors but was stoned by the Portsmouth keeper and the game came to a close with the visitors taking the 2-0 win.

The win was key for Portsmouth, as they were also on the playoff bubble and the victory pushed them into safer position.

The Knights played host to Hanover on Wednesday, Oct. 12, and played a great game that featured lots of back and forth action and finished in a 1-1 tie.

The Knights got in the offensive zone right away, with Kenison firing a shot on net in the opening minute.

However, Hanover came bouncing right back and a couple corner attempts and some solid looks, with Bergeron making a couple of stellar saves.

However, the Marauders drew first blood, firing a shot to the back of the cage with 23:36 to go in the first half, giving them a 1-0 lead.

Just three minutes later, the Knights answered, a Kenison sent a ball in to Edson and she tipped it home for the tying goal.

Kenison, Edson, Matarozzo, McCormack and Lapar all had great scoring chances as the first half continued along, but the Knights were unable to get the ball past the Hanover keeper and the first half drew to a close with the teams tied at one.

Hanover opened the second half with solid pressure but Bergeron was strong in the net and Lapar helped with good defense in front.

Kingswood then took control of the flow of the game, as the Knights had numerous chances in the Hanover zone, putting shots on net and forcing the Marauders to play very good defense.

The visitors were up to that task however, as they kept the ball from going in the net. Hanover had a couple of late chances in the second half, but the Knights were solid on defense, with Drapeau making a nice play to help close out the second half.

The teams went to the seven-on-seven overtime and Kingswood clearly had the best chances in the extra frame. McCormack, Kenison, Matarozzo and Lapar all had great looks. Lapar also had a nice defensive play when Hanover did make a trip to the other end of the field.

The Knights got four penalty corners in about one minute as the clock was ticking down on the overtime but they couldn't capitalize.

Perhaps the best chance came in the final minute, as Kenison sent a shot on net that got past the goalkeeper and appeared destined for the cage. However, a Marauder defender swooped in and cleared it away at the last minute and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

"I've been waiting to see that for a few games," coach Kaitlin Reilly said of her team's all-around solid play. "It was a full game, plus and that's what we've been shooting for."

She noted that while the Knights weren't able to capitalize, they had plenty of chances and put 110 percent on the field for the entire game.

"It was a hard-fought battle, a great game, that's the way the game should be played," Reilly stated.

She noted that Vittum more than earned her keep on the afternoon, facilitating the ball nicely in the middle of the field for the Knights.

Kingswood will open the playoffs today, Oct. 20, at 3:30 p.m. at St. Thomas. The Knights finished at 5-7-2 and earned the 15th seed in the Division II standings.

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

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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