Field Hockey Blazing Through the Season
By Michael James LeClair
With the Central Mass. Tournament just around the corner, the Nashoba Regional field hockey team is optimistic about a deep postseason run.
However, before the Chieftains could start thinking about the playoffs, they had to battle through the remainder of the regular season.
Last Monday night (Oct. 20), Nashoba concluded the home portion of its schedule by welcoming Hopkinton High School for Nashoba’s Senior Night celebration.
The Chieftains extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games as they cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Hillers under the lights on Monday.
“I thought we came out and played really well,” said Nashoba head coach Jamie Mariani after her team improved to 14-1-1. “This was a great way for us to honor and send out this senior class, with a win in their final regular season home game. I’m proud of the performance. It was a special night.”
Hopkinton drops to 5-6-5 on the season with the loss.
On Monday night, all the scoring came courtesy of the Nashoba senior class as captains Sarah Gaffney, Olivia Hurd and Emma Caviness all scored goals, with Hurd and Caviness each adding assists for the hosts.
There’s a little added motivation for the Chieftains every time they step on the field this fall. According to Caviness, she and her teammates keep a particular player in mind. Sophomore Michelle Farnsworth is unable to play field hockey this year for the Chieftains as she battles cancer. However, that doesn’t mean she isn’t in the thoughts of every one putting on the Nashoba uniform.
“This win is for Michelle, she can’t play this year but every game we play we dedicate to her. She’s our inspiration and we make her a pump up video before every game we play. She’s a fighter and she’s a big part of this team and program,” said Caviness of her battling teammate. “This was a big win. We’re playing well, and we feel we have the ability to compete and play with anyone come playoff time.”
Prior to the game, the six seniors on this year’s Nashoba squad were recognized and honored. Those six seniors are: Clara Greszczuk, Caviness, Gaffney, Hurd, Karleigh Elkins and Meghan Thorogood.
Nashoba opened a 2-0 lead after the first 30 minutes. Gaffney drew first blood with a goal just 2:42 into the contest. Caviness assisted on the goal as Nashoba grabbed an early lead.
The Chieftains doubled their advantage a little over 11 minutes later when Hurd potted one from inside the circle with 16:03 to play before halftime.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, Nashoba goalie Katie Crowley stopped all three first half shots she faced.
In the second half, the home team added a third goal, and some needed insurance, as Caviness found the back of the cage past Hopkinton net minder Delaney O’Bierne for a 3-0 lead with 22:51 remaining in the game.
Hopkinton tried to make things interesting in the game’s final 10 minutes as it broke up the shutout with a goal from Maggie Dolan with 8:47 to play.
The Hillers raised the pressure over the final 10 minutes, looking to inch even closer, but the Chieftains weren’t having any of it as they held on to capture the victory and two points in the standings.
Nashoba followed up the solid performance against the Hillers with a pair of convincing wins to end the regular season. The Chieftains made the trek to South Ashburnham to battle host Oakmont Regional.
On the strength of a Thorogood goal late in the second half the Chieftains edged the Spartans by a 3-2 final score.
In the Chieftains regular season finale, the goals came early and often as Nashoba cruised to a 5-0 win over Ashland. Nashoba wrapped up the regular season at 16-1-1.
Olivia Magliozzi got the scoring started on a penalty corner midway through the first half. Rachel Farley scored late in the first half to make it 2-0. Tess Anderson, Brianna Murphy and Mary Kate Magliozzi added second-half goals.