Field hockey: Bow drops semifinal in overtime to Kennett, ends underdog run
|Published: 10-26-2023 10:52 PM
EXETER – The end of an underdog playoff run inevitably brings conflicting feelings: feelings of satisfaction and appreciation for how much the group overachieved, but also feelings of disappointment and frustration ruminating over what could’ve been.
No. 6 Bow (13-4) saw its playoff run come to an end on Thursday night at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter, losing to No. 2 Kennett, 2-1, in overtime. The Falcons struck first in the first quarter after freshman Shire Kelley buried a shot in the back of the net following a sequence of pinpoint passes from the Falcons. Kennett (14-2) tied it up with 3:15 left in the opening quarter, and then the game tightened significantly, with the Eagles holding most of the offensive chances. At 1:52 into overtime, Allie Hussey scored to move Kennett on to the D-II championship game to be played on Sunday in Bedford.
“They gave it their all. They played their hearts out,” Bow head coach Sarah Vaughn said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better season. They gave it their all. They left everything on the field, and that was our goal. They have no regrets.”
Entering the season with a new head coach after the team finished last season 5-9-1, merely a winning season would’ve been impressive. But a 10-win regular season followed up with a trip to the semifinals represents a massive achievement for this group.
“They don’t need to doubt themselves,” Vaughn said. “This season, they found that they’re competitors, they’re athletes and they can accomplish hard things.”
Scoring against Kennett can certainly be categorized as hard. After all, the Eagles only allowed five goals during the regular season. When the two teams met back on Sept. 26 and Kennett won, 1-0, Bow didn’t have a single shot on goal. While the Falcons’ offense surely played better on Thursday, it still wasn’t enough.
But as Vaughn explained, her group gave them no reason to hang their heads.
Bow graduates just two seniors off the roster, Maia Kimball and Sabrina Bernard, so the rest of the group will presumably be back next year, well-positioned to make another deep playoff run.
For now, though, the Falcons can look at 2023 as a major stepping stone. The program won 10 games and a playoff game for the first time in a decade and pulled off an upset against No. 3 Oyster River to reach the semifinals. Any team wants to win a championship, and while Bow might not get that chance this season, the Falcons can use Thursday as a learning experience to make that next jump.
“The season was a success,” Vaughn said. “We came into this as underdogs, and we worked our way farther than anyone expected, so we should hold our heads high and be back next season.”