Field hockey advances to semis

Written by Mike Halloran
 | Wednesday, 09 November 2011 16:02

The No. 2 seeded DHS field hockey team continues to mow people down, as it shutout Hopkinton (1-0) and Barnstable (3-0) over the weekend in the MIAA Division 1 South Sectionals.

The pair of wins moved the Lady Dragons (20-1-0) to the semifinals, where they took on No. 3 seeded Sandwich (16-1-3) last night in Duxbury.  Sandwich eliminated No. 11 seeded Falmouth, 1-0, to reach the semis.

Opening last week against No. 18 seeded Hopkinton (6-6-6), it looked like Duxbury would have little problem with the Hillers. But a rivalry between the two schools has developed in several sports, and competitiveness is the norm no matter what the records.

Despite Duxbury’s first-half domination, the Hillers kept the game close without crossing the midfield stripe until seven minutes had elapsed in the first half.

A series of Duxbury corners kept the play in Hopkinton’s end of the field, and the Lady Dragons finally capitalized with 4:53 to go in the half when senior Molly Zaverucha cut through the slot from left to right and drilled her shot past netminder Jaclyn Chirco for what proved to be the game-winner.

Holding a slim 1-0 lead in the second half, the Lady Dragons fought off a Hopkinton rally in the first 13 minutes that was halted by a well-timed timeout by Duxbury Coach Pam Manley.

When play resumed, momentum shifted back to Duxbury, as they dominated the rest of the way and registered nine corners to none for the Hillers in the final 30 minutes.

Manley’s squad moved on to play No. 7 seeded Barnstable on Sunday afternoon in Duxbury and the Lady Dragons were back to their high-scoring ways, as they scored less than eight minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead.

Taking a corner to the right of Barnstable goalkeeper Jen O’Connell, Hannah Murphy sent the ball out to Lily Smith, who buried her shot.

Momentum was clearly on Duxbury’s side, and it appeared Duxbury increased its lead to 2-0 at the 19-minute mark, only to have Cory Connolly’s goal disallowed when her shot was ruled too high as it sailed over O’Connell’s shoulder.

It didn’t take long for the Lady Dragons to get it back, as Smith scored her second of the game off another corner with assists to Caroline Phinney and Zaverucha with 17:15 left in the half.

Duxbury continued to control play, as Connolly was set up on another nice corner pass and blasted a shot that just went past the left post with 10 minutes left in the half.

The Red Raiders would make an offensive thrust late in the first half, but Phinney, Ally Hammel, and Caroline Shaunnessy would thwart Barnstable’s bid with the help of goaltender Sophie Fitzpatrick.

Any Barnstable comeback hopes were quickly extinguished when Connolly blasted a shot from the right side that handcuffed O’Connell just over two minutes into the second half for a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Dragons would dominate the rest of the way, getting six second-half corners for a total of 14 for the game, while the Red Raiders managed just two first-half corners.

“I thought the girls were ready to score more than they were versus Hopkinton,” said Manley. “We knew if we won that tough first-round game we would have a good shot at winning the second round. If our girls keep playing the way they are and build up that confidence, we should do great. The only thing we need to make sure of is that they come up with offensive options when you have a close game like Hopkinton. “

Should the Lady Dragons knock off Sandwich, they will most likely face field hockey powerhouse and No. 1 seed Walpole (20-0-0) on Saturday afternoon in Taunton.