Field hockey: Successful season for Bow continues with playoff win over Hanover

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 10-19-2023 8:02 PM

BOW – Earlier in the season, Falcons’ head coach Sarah Vaughn wanted to see consistent progress from her players. After a 10-win regular season and a playoff win on Thursday over Hanover, that progress is undeniable.

Against a No. 11 Bears (7-7-3) team that beat the Falcons 5-4 in overtime on Sept. 12, No. 6 Bow (11-4-0) came out ready to play from the first whistle of the Division II preliminary round matchup. After a scoreless first quarter, Falcons’ junior Ella Gray knocked in a goal with 9:39 left in the half, and she added a second off a deflection at 11:38 of the third quarter to make it 2-0. Bow went on to win by that score.

Hanover, desperate to keep its season alive, controlled the ball more in the fourth quarter, but a couple fortuitous bounces for Bow and some strong defense kept the Bears off the scoreboard.

Perhaps even more so than in soccer, the playing surface for field hockey makes a massive difference. Hanover, which won the earlier matchup on its home turf, had to contend with Bow’s grass field, meaning a slower pace and a little more difficulty bringing the ball upfield.

The Falcons, playing on their familiar terrain, certainly gave them an edge, according to Vaughn. That comfort was particularly helpful given the general angst for Bow heading into the playoff matchup.

“We lost to them in overtime in the regular season, so everyone was very nervous going into the game,” she said. “We came out, we played our game. Our biggest goal was to maintain composure.  … They showed up. We had some outstanding performances by Maia Kimball, Madelyn Hebert in the backfield, Ella Gray with – I think she just got her 19th goal, so things are connecting.”

The win advances the Falcons into the quarterfinals against No. 3 Oyster River (11-3-0), a team Bow did not face during the regular season. Thursday’s 2-0 win gives Bow eight shutouts now this season; meanwhile, the Bobcats, who beat Pembroke 3-0 in their preliminary round game, now have seven shutouts.

“We did not face Oyster River in the regular season, so that has its advantages and its downfalls,” Vaughn said. “Luckily we’ll know who to watch out for, and we just have to focus on our game.”

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But regardless of the outcome on Sunday, 2023 has already been a milestone season for the Bow field hockey program. Per Vaughn, the team’s 10-win regular season and playoff win are the first the program has had in 10 years.

“The season has been a success so far,” she said. “So we’re happy.”