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Bishop Brady field hockey advances in D-III tourney with win over Conant

  • Conant’s Katie Marsh (right) is chased by Bishop Brady’s McKayla Toupin as she brings the ball up the field during the opening round of the Division III playoffs Tuesday at Bishop Brady High School. The Green Giants advanced with a 4-0 win. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady’s Halle Laramie (7) trails Conant’s Tiffany Marrotte in the middle of the field during Tuesday’s Division III tournament opener at Bishop Brady High School. The Green Giants won, 4-0, and will play Gilford in Friday’s quarterfinal at home starting at 3 p.m. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady’s Abby Shagena (right) takes a shot and from in close, but is stopped by Conant goalie Stephanie Barney during Tuesday’s Division III first round playoff game at Bishop Brady High School. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady’s Ashlyn Toupin (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of Tuesday’s Division III playoff game against Conant at Bishop Brady High School. The Green Giants won, 4-0, and will take on No. 6 Gilford in Friday’s quarterfinal. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady’s Halle Laramie (center) shoots and scores in the second half of Tuesday’s Division III first round playoff game against Conant at Bishop Brady High School. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography



Monitor staff
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Green Giants knew exactly what was needed. The last time the Bishop Brady field hockey team took a sizeable lead into the half against Conant, it nearly ended in a disastrous collapse.

This time, the third-seeded Giants left no doubt.

Behind two goals in each half and a shutout in the cage for senior Emma Windsor, Bishop Brady erased any thought of a comeback Tuesday afternoon in the Division III tournament opener and sent No. 14 Conant home early with a 4-0 victory at Bishop Brady High School.

“We needed to play a full game,” said Bishop Brady coach Kelly Owen, whose team improved to 13-2 overall and will take on No. 6 Gilford in Friday’s quarterfinal round at home. “We played them two Saturdays ago, we were up 4-1 at halftime and they scored two in the second. We came out really flat and complacent in that second half and even the kids said, ‘Remember what we did last time. We can’t do that in the second half. We need to make we sure that we step it up.’ ”

And that’s exactly what the Green Giants did, upping their two-goal lead to four in the second half with a couple of nifty scores from Halle Laramie and Riley Marsh to put an end to one of the more surprising stories in the division.

Conant was a major rebuilding project when Jackie Brown took over the program last season. In her first year, the Orioles finished 0-13 and scored just six total goals.

This season, Brown and a hungry group of underclassmen made the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and finished with 32 goals as a team.

“Coming into this year, especially for me with a year under my belt, I kind of knew the placement of individuals and how they play,” said Brown after Conant finished the season 5-10. “We had a big, talented freshman class come in, which helped, and we finally we had some puzzle pieces that we were missing last year that we put in this year that kind of clicked.

“(This game) was a bonus and we made the best of it,” Brown said. “Brady’s a good team. They’re tough.”

The Green Giants, who averaged just over three goals per game during the regular season, didn’t get the start they were hoping for as a mix of nerves and the Conant defense left the game scoreless for the first 23 minutes.

But with most of the half being played in Conant’s defensive end, Brady finally generated enough pressure on goalie Stephanie Barney, sneaking one past the senior with 11:40 to play on a shot from midfielder Ashlyn Toupin.

Four minutes later, Becca Murphy made it 2-0 after getting her stick on a picture-perfect cross pass to the far side of the cage from Marsh.

“We were a little sluggish (to start). I think they were a little nervous, but that’s to be expected,” Owen said. “We were struggling a little bit in trying to connect on that weak left side, but the kids knew it. They realized it and were talking amongst themselves and that matters. It’s huge that they’re starting to recognize it.”

The contest was still very much in reach for the Orioles at the start of the second half until Laramie grabbed the ball off a turnover, went coast-to-coast down the field and blew past a defender before rifling one into the back of the cage.

Then, using one of their 13 corners on the afternoon, the Green Giants put the game on ice when Riley Marsh lined up a shot and blasted a low grounder past Barney for the 4-0 advantage with 17:35 remaining in the game.

“I just wanted to play our game and we didn’t,” Brown said. “The playoffs are a completely different game. It’s a new season pretty much and it all depends on what team wants it more, I guess. If we had played our game, it would have been different, or at least not 4-0.”

Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)