Published in the September 14, 2016 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — The Lady Pioneers field hockey team has begun the season on the right foot. Lynnfield shut out Triton 2-0 in Viking territory on the road last Thursday.
Head coach Mamie Reardon was thrilled with the victory as well as the team’s effort throughout the game, noting that at least 18 team members saw playing time against a strong team.
“It was pretty even for the first half. We had our opportunities,” Reardon recalled, but so did their opponents. Both teams kept the other at bay for 30 minutes and entered the halftime break in a scoreless tie.
The Pioneers stepped it up in the second half and it paid off when sophomore Ashley Barrett scored with 20:45 remaining on the clock in what would ultimately be the game-winner. She was assisted by Elise Murphy.
Reardon described the second goal as pure magic.
“We had 15 minutes left when I put a sub in and the ball was coming right at her, so she ran into a space and she’s the only one moving. She’s a little past the 50 (yard line), she dodges somebody, goes into the circle, shoots the ball, and it goes in!” Reardon said. “It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen to have a sub go in and just take the ball down that far. The ball was just placed perfectly as she was running in.”
Making the goal all the sweeter was the fact that it was scored by a freshman in her varsity debut. Lily Rothwell is one of two freshmen players selected for the team of 23 varsity players.
With a 2-0 lead and just under 15 minutes left in the game, Triton managed to penetrate through Lynnfield’s defensive zone. But junior goalkeeper Lydia Picariello was up for the challenge. “She had eight saves. She did a fantastic job and kept us in that game,” Reardon said.
Picariello will be sharing net duties with teammate Lauren Vaccaro, a sophomore, the coach said.
Reardon described the victory as “a really big win because Triton has a very good field hockey team. She has some players who are really strong and talented, so we were very happy to come out with a victory.”
Team tri-captain Lilly Patterson was “a force” during the game. “She stood on the 25 and just takes (the ball) away. It’s pretty remarkable. She stops everyone coming down,” Reardon said, noting that Patterson has increased her knowledge of the game and has become the backbone at center midfield.
Abigail Buckley, at left back, is a sophomore who will be relied upon to control that side of the field. “She has a good reverse stick move,” Reardon said. Senior Isabella Floramo plays right back, complimenting Buckley in controlling the backfield and protecting the net.
Senior Rachel Strout played in the first half plus a few minutes in the second as well, consistently sending the ball up to the wings, she said.
Senior tri-captain Marianne Oliveri plays left midfield in the new system in use by the team this season. “She was fantastic,” Reardon said, adding that she adeptly uses her great stick work to take the ball away from opponents.
Senior captain Jaylin Grabau helped the team’s effort with her improved stickwork in carrying the ball downfield. “We’re just looking for more scoring power from her, getting that ball on goal,” her coach said.
The aggressiveness Elise Murphy displays on the field makes her a force to be reckoned with. “She fights for the ball, she tries to get around people,” Reardon said, adding she is looking forward to Murphy continuing to develop her game.
Kathleen Hamm’s passing skills and moves around opponents kept Triton on the defense, Reardon said.
The Barrett twins, Ashley and Brianna, now sophomores, return for their second year on the varsity team and their fearlessness will be relied upon throughout the season, she said. Brianna plays center forward and Ashley plays right inner.
Ava Figucia did a great job at right mid, as did Danielle Douglas at left mid, recalled Reardon. Both girls are seniors.
Jillian Zahar, in only her second year on the team, played left inner in the Triton victory. As a sophomore she was the team’s scorer but last year she decided to try out for the team as a junior and her skills continue to improve, Reardon said.
“It was a great win. I am really very happy,” the coach said. “They’re a great bunch of girls.”
The Pioneers traveled to Pentucket Monday (after press time) to play a rare game on natural grass. They host the always formidable Masconomet Chieftains in their first home game of the season on Wednesday, Sept. 14 followed by another home game against the Newburyport Clippers on Friday. All games start at 3:45 p.m. at the LHS Athletic Complex.