MEDFIELD, Mass. -- Three near free position scores set up a thrilling finish between Tri-Valley rivals Medfield and Hopkinton in the final minutes at Calvin George Fisher Memorial Field last night.
With possession and 1:35 left, the Warriors had just settled after missing a second penalty effort and were coming out of a timeout looking to hold for the final shot. As the clock hit15 seconds, two Warriors slid in front of the net to draw off the defense and senior Katelyn Noschese pivoted with the ball towards the opposite post.
As both defenses had done all-to-well throughout the night the Hopkinton defenders crashed the ball and forced an awkward final shot for a miss. In a game where the two teams had equalized all seven times it was inevitable that the narrow contest between the reigning Division 2 champion Warriors (11-4-1, 7-3-1) and rival Hopkinton (11-3-1, 8-2-1) ended in a 7-7 tie.
“We wanted to take as much time as we could so we could take the last shot and not give an opportunity for them,” said Medfield coach Kathleen McCullough. “We are treating this as preparation for the tournament. They have a lot of great isolation players and their team defense is great.”
Medfield senior goalie Sarah Honan caught a free position effort by Hopkinton senior Tess Chandler with 2:10 left, while the Warriors hit the keeper off a pair of free position rips by sophomore sisters Lauren and Haley Tschirch within few seconds later.
A Medfield Score, but Hopkinton Controlled: Medfield only trailed once, but Hopkinton controlled the ball; especially in the first half as it forced 22 save effort to the Warriors 11 in total.
After missing on a shot to the five-hole, Chandler ripped her second free position effort outside Honan's leg to grab Hopkinton's only lead; a 7-6 advantage with 6:37 remaining.
“It was shot placement,” said Hopkinton coach Jodi Dolan. “We created, we had the ball, and our possession was much better than there's. The only shots that seemed to be working were going wide and low.”
Senior Alex McDevitt hit teammate Lauren Tschirch along the post where she ducked between two defenders and scored the opening goal at 18:31. Junior Caroline Tschirch thrashed her way through a crowd of Hillers and scored right in front net for the 3-2 Medfield advantage with 14.3 seconds remaining in the first half.
Honan In: Besides hitting the post three times in the first half, Hopkinton forced nine saves in the first and 15 total from Honan.
“I was trying to expect that they were going to go low, but I can not guarantee that,” said Honan. “If I start thinking they are going to go low they might switch up high on me. I have to keep on my toes.”
Three For Two: It is no question Division I dynasty Westwood (16-0) is going to finish first in the Tri-Valley. However the second spot is up for grabs with the two squads and Dover-Sherborn (11-4, 7-3) having been heavy contention all season. Hopkinton now has the upper hand with a season sweep of D-S and a win and tie against Medfield.
Hopkinton and Medfield represent the last two Division II state championships with both teams defeating Winchester in the finals. Hopkinton won 18-15 in the 2011 finals and Medfield triumphed 10-9 last year.
“The Tri-Valley League is probably the toughest league around,” said Dolan. “Almost every single team in this league is in the tournament (yearly). We are pretty healthy and have just as good a chance of winning the state title as any other year.”