LYNNFIELD —A win over Pentucket followed by a tie against Masconomet enabled the Pioneers field hockey team to remain undefeated last week.

The strong showing by the Blue and Gold also enabled the team to hold onto its first-place position in the Cape Ann League’s Baker division with a record of 7-0-1.

Down Sachems 5-1

Every goal scored in the 5-1 game between Lynnfield and visiting Pentucket on September 23 occurred in the second half.

That must have been some pep talk by head Coach Mamie Reardon. Asked how such a sea change came about between the first and second half, Reardon said simply, “It was 0-0 and I just had to remind them that they have the tools in which to start putting the ball in the net.” The team had taken seven first-half corners, but couldn’t find a break in the first half. Stellar defense had allowed them to fend off the Sachems.

The players got the message. “In the second half once Stefania (DeAngelis) scored it seemed that everyone just had a big sigh of relief and they started to play their game,” Reardon said.

DeAngelis, a senior, broke the stalemate with her first goal of the season. A mere 20 seconds later, senior co-captain Bailey Fanikos demonstrated why she remains the leading goal-scorer and points leader in the Cape Ann League when she put the Pioneers ahead 2-0.

But Fanikos wasn’t finished. She scored another goal to give the Pioneers a 3-0 advantage before Pentucket responded with a goal that “dribbled in” behind the goal line, cutting the lead to 3-1.

But by this point, the Pioneers had found their stride and bounced back against the large school team. Fanikos completed her hat trick, scoring her third consecutive goal. “She literally went through a couple of people and broke away from everyone,” Reardon recalled as Fanikos scored her 12th goal of the season.

In the waning moments of the game, sophomore Mim Oliveri scored the final goal, her fourth of the year, for the 5-1 victory.

Lynnfield’s strong defensive core has made all the difference in keeping the team competitive.

With Allison Lyle patrolling the left side and Lauren Guerra patrolling the right, very little get past them. Reardon said these seniors “really stay the lines and they just keep feeding” the ball up field. They usually feed it up to Fanikos at center midfield.

“We just try to keep it from the circle as much as possible. And in every game they have really come up big for us,” Reardon said, adding that sweeper Lilli Patterson continues show nice skills in getting the ball out to Lyle or Guerra on either side and away from the net.

Tie Masconomet

Two days later the Pioneers traveled to Masconomet to challenge another undefeated team. At 4-0-2, the Chieftains were in second place in the CAL Kinney division, behind only Newburyport (5-0-3).

This game proved to be all defense and a battle of wills. Reardon was pleased to see her team dominate for the first 15-20 minutes of play, though no goal was scored.

“All of a sudden it just switched,” she said and Masconomet got the upper hand, scoring at 22:50 of the first half.

“At half time I just said don’t let down, keep your sticks down and go after them,” while reminding her players that their skills were just as good as their opponents.

“Then we took over. The second half, we dominated. We had eight corners in that half and we could not put the ball behind the goalkeeper. It was very frustrating and the kids were getting frustrated,” she said.

Just when it looked like the Chieftains would leave this game unscathed, Fanikos got her stick on the ball. “She hit it up and Mim (Oliveri) was in full stride and she just came onto it,” Reardon said. “It was one-on-one with the goalie and she just punched it in the corner.”

The beauty of a goal came with 3:18 left on the clock and it was the fifth goal Oliveri scored this season while Fanikos earned her second assist in the 1-1 tie.

Both games were a good test for the Pioneers as the competition ramps up in the second half of the season. Pentucket had been the team’s most challenging opponent up to that point, Reardon said, until they had faced Masconomet.

Upcoming games

Lynnfield has a grueling four-game schedule this week, which began with Hamilton-Wenham on Monday (after press time) followed by a return to Pentucket on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at home game against North Reading on Friday, Oct. 3 at 3:45 p.m. and a road game at Manchester-Essex on Saturday, Oct. 4 at noon.