Published in the September 30, 2015 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — The Pioneers field hockey team improved its record to .500 after defeating Rockport Friday in the sixth game of the season.
The Blue and Gold defeated the Vikings 2-1 in the first game played on a natural grass field this season.
It was also the second consecutive win for the Pioneers who defeated their North Reading rivals at home last Wednesday in a 1-0 shutout.
The victory over the Hornets was a much-needed boost for the team after being shut out in the two previous games played on the road at Newburyport 2-0 on Sept. 17 and at Masconomet 3-0 on Sept. 15.
The Lady Pioneers split their first two games of the season, defeating Pentucket 3-0 on Sept. 11 and dropping the season opener to Triton, also by a score of 3-0 on Sept. 9.
Lynnfield 1 North Reading 0
Coach Mamie Reardon was thrilled that her team won the hard-fought game against their rivals Sept. 24.
“We needed this,” she said after the game. Lynnfield dominated offensively and had numerous opportunities to put the game out of reach, but the pesky Hornets never backed down and prevented the Pioneers from finishing. North Reading also had a goal called back because it was over 18 inches off the ground, which is too high.
In the end, Lynnfield had 12 shots turned away by the Hornets’ goalie while holding North Reading’s offense at bay. Lynnfield’s goalie, Lydia Picariello, made one save.
The game-winner was scored by Jaylin Grabau, assisted by Min Oliveri.
“I’m looking for kids to step up. I have 12 forwards vying for a position” on the forward line, Reardon said. She added that junior newcomer Elise Murphy is “a coach’s dream for a forward because she doesn’t give up. If she had started playing field hockey as a freshman colleges would be looking at her right now.” While playing on grass with a short stick may to new to Murphy, she is not a stranger to hockey on the ice and has found a way to transfer those skills to field hockey.
The team is relatively young, with just two seniors – captain Shayleigh Furey and Bella DiCesare. The team also has 11 juniors, including co-captain Lilli Patterson, seven sophomores and two freshmen – twins Ashley and Brianna Barrett.
“They are utility players,” Reardon said of the Barrett twins, adding, “they’re always ready to go” whether she positions them at forward, defense or in the middle of the field. Reardon said she was also impressed by the plays made by DiCesare against North Reading in the midfield.
New CAL alignment
Lynnfield hosted the Hamilton-Wenham Generals (1-5-0) under the lights at Pioneer Stadium on Tuesday night (after press time) in a league game that will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.
Lynnfield and Hamilton-Wenham switched divisions in the Cape Ann League (CAL) this year, with Lynnfield moving up to the CAL Kinney Division with the league’s large schools while Hamilton-Wenham dropped down to the CAL Baker Division with the league’s small schools.
The division assignments fluctuate every several years based on student population at the league’s high schools. This switch also affected both the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams.
Following the victory over Rockport, Lynnfield improved to third place overall in the league standings with six points in a tie with Pentucket (3-4-0). Masconomet (6-0-0) and Triton (4-1-0) lead the division with 12 and eight points, respectively while Manchester-Essex (6-0) remains undefeated to lead the small division.
The Pioneers will travel to Amesbury on Thursday, Oct. 1 and will host Ipswich Monday, Oct. 5. Both of these games start at 3:45 p.m.