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D-III field hockey: Undefeated Newfound beats defending champ Gilford, 5-1, to reach title game

  • Newfound’s Caroline Marchand (1) celebrates her first-half goal during Thursday’s Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School. Newfound beat Gilford, 5-1, and plays Mascoma for the title on Sunday. Elizabeth Frantz photos / Monitor staff

  • Newfound's Julianne Marchand (11) flies down field with Gilford's Julie Auld (11) on her heels during Thursday's Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School in Exeter, Oct. 26, 2017. Newfound defeated Gilford, 5-1. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Newfound's Caroline Marchand (center) scores a goal during Thursday's Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School in Exeter, Oct. 26, 2017. Newfound defeated Gilford, 5-1. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Newfound's Caroline Marchand (right) celebrates her goal with Kylee Macdonald during Thursday's Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School in Exeter, Oct. 26, 2017. Newfound defeated Gilford, 5-1. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • The Newfound field hockey team celebrates following its 5-1 victory over Gilford in Thursday evening’s Division III semifinal at Bill Ball Stadium.

  • Gilford's Laurel Gingrich (37) moves the ball down the field during Thursday's Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School in Exeter, Oct. 26, 2017. Newfound defeated Gilford, 5-1. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Newfound's Hayleigh LeTourneau (14) protects the ball against Gilford's Julie Auld (11) during Thursday's Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School in Exeter, Oct. 26, 2017. Newfound defeated Gilford, 5-1. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Newfound’s Jasmine Peterson (15) approaches the net during Thursday’s Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Newfound's Kylee Macdonald (8) sends the ball towards Julianne Marchand (11) as Gilford's Laurel Gingrich (37) and Laurel Normandin (22) close in during the Division III field hockey semifinal at Exeter High School in Exeter, Oct. 26, 2017. Newfound defeated Gilford, 5-1. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Friday, October 27, 2017

EXETER – Newfound field hockey Coach Karri Peterson says Julianne Marchand is the best pure scorer the Bears have on their roster. Julianne’s younger sister, Caroline, isn’t far behind as she follows in her older sister’s footsteps.

The Marchand duo combined for all five of Newfound’s goals as the No. 1 Bears topped No. 4 Gilford, 5-1, in the Division-III field hockey semifinals on Thursday at Bill Ball Stadium.

The undefeated Bears (16-0) will face No. 10 Mascoma (11-6) for the state championship on Sunday at Bedford High scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Mascoma knocked out No. 3 Monadnock, 3-1, in the first semifinal game Thursday evening. It will be Newfound’s first time back in the title game since 2009.

Caroline scored a hat trick, starting with Newfound’s second goal of the first half that gave the Bears a 2-0 advantage. The sophomore was in a good position near the goal’s left post when Julianne took a shot from the right side that rebounded straight toward Caroline. Caroline swatted the airborne ball knee-high into the back of the cage.

“She’s got a great stick around the goal cage,” Peterson said of Caroline. “She’s where she needs to be and she ends up poking it in there a lot. She does her job.”

Julianne did her job, too. The senior forward pushed Newfound onto the scoreboard for a 1-0 lead just over 17 minutes into the game. After gathering a pass from senior classmate Kylee Macdonald, Julianne carried the ball 35 yards down the middle of the field, beat a Gilford defender in a foot race, and scored past Gilford goaltender Jenna DeLucca.

The Bears offense was clicking at every turn from the opening whistle to the final horn. Newfound controlled the midfield, made clean transitions to the offensive end, and created numerous chances to score. The Bears had five corner opportunities in the first 10:30 of the game.

“This is probably the best we’ve played all year,” Caroline said. “We all worked together very well.”

Gilford was limited on offense as the ball mostly stayed in the Golden Eagles’ defensive end. Their defensive effort was strong, especially in the first 20 minutes while keeping Newfound scoreless.

The trouble Gilford (13-3-1) ran into was clearing the ball out of its own end.

“We always say clear it wide,” Gilford Coach David Rogacki said. “Today, we cleared it into where (Newfound) wanted us to clear it.”

Rogacki took a timeout when Newfound pulled ahead, 2-0, and 11 minutes left in the first half. The Golden Eagles came back out and scored two minutes later in a scramble in front of the net. Laurel Gingrich put her stick on the ball and snuck it through to the net.

With plenty of time left, Gilford trailed 2-1. Scoring is the main objective, but Newfound’s offense was heating up and Rogacki emphasized escalating the pressure on defense.

“It was 2-1, but we knew they were going to score,” Rogacki said. “We just didn’t react to it.”

Julianne scored her second goal with 8:35 left in the first half, giving Newfound a two-goal cushion. Jasmine Peterson assisted and the Bears took a 3-1 lead into halftime.

Caroline hit her second and third goals less than two minutes apart in the second half, mounting a 5-1 lead.

The last several years have seen these two Lakes Region programs consistently contend for titles, and they often run into each other in their pursuit.

Thursday night was special for the Newfound seniors. As freshman, they lost to Gilford in the first round after an impressive regular season that included a pair of wins over the Eagles. Last fall, Gilford knocked the Bears out of the semifinals on their way to winning the state championship.

This year, Newfound returned seven seniors and three juniors. Peterson’s experienced group stormed through the regular season, shutting out nine opponents and winning all but two games by two goals or more.

After narrowly escaping eighth-seed Winnisquam, 1-0, in the quarterfinals, the Bears had find their offense again, especially against a Gilford team that shut out nine opponents in the regular season.

Even though Newfound defeated Gilford in both of their regular-season meetings, Peterson spent a lot of time this week building the confidence of her team.

“That’s been my biggest focus this entire week is to get them to think that they could beat Gilford, telling them, ‘You guys played with them. You can do this. You’ve got to have confidence in yourselves,’ ” Peterson said.

Peterson got the result she was looking for.

“I saw kids play with more intensity and heart than I’ve seen some of them play all season long,” Peterson said. “Throughout the season you knew that they had it in them, but I think throughout the season so many games that we had were easy and they coasted.”

It’ll take at least as much effort when they go up against Mascoma in the title game. Mascoma faced a tough schedule to start the year but have flipped a switch since Oct. 4 stringing together four straight wins that carried them into the playoffs. That streak has continued to climb to seven wins with three victories in the playoffs.

As Newfound looks ahead to the title game, Gilford is looking farther down the road to next season. The Eagles will only lose four seniors out of the 26-member roster. Last year, Gilford lost 10 seniors to graduation.

“We’re young, we’ll be back,” Rogacki said. “Getting here is a reward for having a good season, and that’s what we did. The gravy is getting to Sunday. So we had the mashed potatoes but we don’t get the gravy this year.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3339, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)