Field hockey roundup

Andover gets first state title

Watertown tops Auburn after frantic final seconds

Andover's Meghan Morris reached in to steal the ball from Algonquin's Liz Holmes during the Division 1 State field hockey championship at Worcester State University Saturday November 20, 2010. Andover's Meghan Morris reached in to steal the ball from Algonquin's Liz Holmes during the Division 1 State field hockey championship at Worcester State University Saturday November 20, 2010. (Rick Sinclair / Worcester Telegram & Gazette)
By Michael Grossi
Globe Correspondent / November 21, 2010

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WORCESTER — Championship T-shirts were already made for Andover’s field hockey team before it played Algonquin for the Division 1 state title yesterday at Worcester State.

However, unlike the 2007 New England Patriots 19-0 T-shirts, Andover didn’t have to get rid of them. The Golden Warriors dominated play, beating Algonquin, 3-1, and securing their first state championship.

“Someone told me that they made them up and they wouldn’t say a word if we didn’t win,’’ said Andover coach Maureen Noone. “But the kids worked so hard and they wanted it.’’

The Golden Warriors’ offense had a stranglehold on the game. Andover had 18 penalty corner attempts, Algonquin none. The Golden Warriors amassed 19 shots, Algonquin managed 5.

“We just ran as fast as we could and tried to keep that ball in [Algonquin’s] end as long as possible and make plays,’’ said Anne Farnham.

Farnham was the finisher for the Golden Warriors. The junior scored the winner with 8:50 left in the first half. Laura Dimitruk received the ball off a penalty corner. Dimitruk then slid a pass to Jillian Manning (three assists). Manning fired the ball toward the left goal post where Farnham was able fire a one-timer past Algonquin goalie Channing Moreland.

Moreland (16 saves) kept the Tomahawks in the game with some acrobatic saves. The junior’s unorthodox style had her sliding on the ground and diving a lot.

“[Algonquin’s] goalie was really good,’’ said Manning. “We knew we had to get hard shots and try to get the ball around her.’’

Farnham’s second goal was the icing on the cake. With 58 seconds left, Manning flung a shot on net. Farnham stuck her stick out and tipped the ball over Moreland’s head.

The Golden Warriors scored first, off a penalty corner. Laura Cahill passed to Manning. Manning then passed to Dimitruk, who fired a seed into the net. The Tomahawks evened the score with 11:40 left in the first half. Andover goalie Dina Hagigeorges saved an attempt by Nikki Wrin, but the rebound ricocheted to Liz Holmes, who banged it home.

MIAA Division 2

Watertown 1, Auburn 0 — All that stood in the way of Watertown’s second straight title was 10 seconds and an Auburn penalty corner. The Rockets’ Molly McNamara sent the ball in front of the net. After a brief scrum and a couple of kick saves by Watertown goalie Kayla Costa, the Red Raiders were able to clear the ball out of harm’s way, securing the victory and their 46th consecutive win.

“That was an intense ending,’’ said Watertown coach Eileen Donahue. “We just had to stop the ball and clear it out. The players at midfield were killing themselves to get back and help the defense out and that team effort paid off. You got to give credit to Auburn. The game was almost over but they never stopped fighting until the end.’’

Said junior Erika Kelly of the frantic final seconds: “The crowd was yelling and it was just so intense. We knew we had to get the ball out and once we got it out of the circle, the game would be over.’’

The only goal came with 12:42 remaining. Bianca Jones carried the ball, which occupied the defense. Lauren Giordano and Kelly were able to slip behind the defense and Jones hit Giordano with an entry pass. Auburn goalie Shannon Johnson (10 saves) jumped out to try and get the ball away from Giordano, but the junior was able to slide a pass to Kelly, who dumped the ball into the empty net.

“Lauren saw me open and whenever we see each other open, we pass the ball,’’ said Kelly.

The Red Raiders had a golden chance to score before their goal. Johnson made a save on a Watertown shot, but the rebound bounced to Kelly. Kelly fired on net, but Erin Stelmach was able to clear it off the goal line.

Auburn’s best chance to score was early in the first half. The Rockets got two consecutive shots on net, but Costa (7 saves) cleared them away.