The DHS field hockey team faced defending State champion Andover HS (21-2) on Tuesday night in Westwood for the Eastern MA title and was shut down by the Golden Warriors, 2-0.
It was the most goals Duxbury (22-1-1) had allowed an opponent to score on them all year long, and complicating matters was Andover’s defense that held the Lady Dragon offense to just two shots on net.
After earning a pair of corners in the first eight minutes, Andover struck for the eventual game-winner with 21:12 left in the first half when Anne Farnham redirected a free hit into the top left corner, beating goalkeeper Sophie Fitzpatrick and leaving it in the hands of its defense to stop the high-scoring Lady Dragons.
The goal seemed to fuel the Warriors, who forced Fitzpatrick into another save situation and earned another of their four first-half corners with 19:25 to go.
Duxbury countered with a Grace Nissi run down the right side in which the senior blasted a shot at Andover goalie Shannon Tully that just went wide of the far post.
The Golden Warriors called a timeout after Nissi’s shot to break Duxbury’s momentum, and it calmed things down until the final seconds of the half when an Andover corner resulted in a congested flurry in front of the Duxbury net as time expired.
With the Andover defense limiting Duxbury’s offensive attack, a hobbling Nissi took things into her own hands and had three significant rushes down the right side; turning the defense and having Tully kick out her first scoring attempt.
Andover Coach Maureen Noone could see her one-goal lead in danger if Nissi continued to challenge her defense and called a timeout.
Coming back from the break, Duxbury earned a corner with 19:50 left in the game and fired on Tully, who denied the Lady Dragons once again.
Four minutes later the Golden Warriors would end Duxbury’s chances for a State title when Meagan Keefe’s shot caromed off Fitzpatrick’s right pad and snuck inside the post for a comfortable 2-0 lead with 13:10 remaining.
“Their defense cleared us out so fast that they didn’t allow us any time in their offensive circle,” said Duxbury Coach Pam Manley. “They weren’t peppering Sophie with many shots either, but I think it was a matter of two good defensive teams playing each other. They cleared us out faster, and we just let them stay too long in our end for those two extra shots.”
The game marks the end of the high school field hockey careers of seniors: Nissi, Molly Zaverucha, Martha Findley, Emmy Horton, Fitzpatrick, Caroline Phinney, Emile Munson, Cory Connolly, Emily Meehan, Kristen McHugh, and Olivia Rosenfeld,