High schools: Big crowd for MV at Bishop Brady field hockey

  • Merrimack Valley’s Brittney Thoroughgood (right) brings the ball up the field on Tuesday at Bishop Brady High School as masked fans watch from a crowded sideline. Brady, the defending Division III champs, scored three goals in a seven-minute span to beat D-II MV, 3-2. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady’s Libbey Hicks (center) takes a shot on goal during the second half of Tuesday’s field hockey game against Merrimack Valley. Hicks scored a goal a few minutes later to help Brady to a 3-2 win. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady freshman Laura Yap takes a shot on goal during Tuesday’s field hockey game against Merrimack Valley. Yap would later score the game-winning goal for the Giants. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 9/23/2020 11:35:24 AM

The community is ready to be outside and watching sports. One look at the crowd on the sideline during Tuesday’s Merrimack Valley at Bishop Brady field hockey game made that clear.

Yes, it’s two local teams, and both are good – Brady won the Division III title last year and MV reached the D-II semifinals. Still, to see a full sideline (completely masked and socially distant) at a field hockey game in September was unusual.

“I’ve never seen a crowd like this for our first game, no,” said Kelly Owen, who is in her 27th season as Brady’s head coach. “People want to get out.”

Those people saw an entertaining game as the Brady scored three goals in a seven-minute span in the fourth quarter to erase a one-goal deficit and pull out a 3-2 win.

“This isn’t a team we’re used to playing, so I think it took us a little while to adjust,” said Brady junior captain Libbey Hicks, who had the game-winning goal. “But once we got used to them we got into it and we were good from there.”

It was the second win of the season for the Giants (2-0), who also came on late to win their season opener at Conant on Friday.

“We played well in the third and fourth quarter, just like at Conant,” Owen said. “We got a little better at some things from Friday to today, but this still feels like it should be scrimmage number two, it’s not, it’s game two, but that’s kind of how it feels without having a preseason.”

This was the first game for MV (0-1), and the Pride was also feeling the effects of no preseason scrimmages.

“We’re low on numbers in the program this year, so this was our first time playing on a full field this year,” MV coach Jen Colgan said. “I think we played okay. We passed the ball well in the first half, but we could have been a little more aggressive in the circle. We had some lapses and gaps on defense, and that’s where they scored three goals in seven minutes. And from there it kind of felt like we were playing individually to try and catch up.”

After a scoreless first half, Emma Parris gave the Pride a 1-0 lead 4:21 into the third quarter. Brady picked up its pressure from there, and eventually tied the game after back-to-back penalty corners. Rebecca Murphy initiated the second corner with a pass to Hicks, who passed it to Ashlyn Toupin, who sent it toward the cage. That’s where Brady sophomore Margaret Sheehan found the ball and eventually forced it home with 12:36 left on the clock.

Hicks gave Brady the lead with 7:23 to go in the game. The scoring sequence started with another shot from Toupin. This one was redirected toward the cage by Laura Yap and then finished by Hicks.

Less than two minutes later, Yap scored what proved to be the game-winning goal after Halle Laramie drew the defense by carrying the ball in front of the cage and shooting.

MV’s Kalee Keyser found the back of the cage with just :17 left to complete the scoring.

Field Hockey

John Stark 5, Pembroke 0

Key players: John Stark – Gracie Bolduc (2 goals, 2 assists), Delaney Forrestall (two gaols, assist), Bella Pelletier (first varsity goal), Meg Girardet (assist), Aubrey Fischer (assist); Pembroke – Corinna Plourde (defense), Janelle Gagnon (defense)

Highlights: John Stark opened the scoring about three minutes into the game when Bella Pelletier knocked home a feed from Forrestall off a corner. The Generals managed two more first-half goals on their way to the season-opening win. and cruised to a 5-0 win in their opening game. The Stark defense, led by Jackie O’Donnell with plenty of help from Olivia Dame and Reagan Fischer, did not allow Pembroke a single shot on goal the entire contest.

Coach’s quote: “Was a strong first game for us. We controlled most of the action and played hard. We have a lot of improvement to make, but this was certainly a great start, and just a thrill to be able to be on the field playing a game today.” – John Stark’s Dennis Pelletier

Records: John Stark 1-0; Pembroke 0-2

Hopkinton 2, Bow 1

Key players: Hopkinton — Julia Baer (goal), Charlotte Presti (goal), Natalie Allen (assist); Bow – Alex Larrabee (goal), Barrie Guertin (assist), Rylee Constant (defense)

Highlights: Hopkinton’s Baer opened the scoring before Larrabee tied things up to make it 1-1 at halftime. Presti’s game-winner in the second half was assisted by Allen.

Coach's quote: “It was nice to finally get out on the field. I was pleased with how well they all played together. We look forward to our next game on Friday.” – Hopkinton’s Kate Hohenberger

Records: Hopkinton 1-0; Bow 0-1

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