Jasmine Peterson prepares to rip the ball on net in action against Gilford last week.
Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 11, 2017GILFORD — The Newfound field hockey team has had some great battles with Gilford over the last few years.
And in most of those matches, including last year's semifinal tilt, Gilford has come out on top.
Newfound coach Karri Peterson said that the Golden Eagles appeared to be in her team's head, despite the fact that the games have been consistently close.
"The biggest thing is, we've been competitive with them," Peterson said. "But with a loss, they think if they are less than them and they have to change that in their minds."
And when the Bears walked off the field at Gilford High School with a 3-1 win on Friday, Sept. 8, Peterson was hopeful the feeling had been expelled.
"The biggest success was the fact that they got it out of their minds they could play with them," Peterson said. "That mental part of it was the huge piece for us."
Peterson also noted that the first minutes of the games have given the Bears trouble against the Golden Eagles and told her team to buckle down in those first few minutes. And yet, the hosts were able to score in the first two minutes of the game.
Gilford scored on a corner with 1:22 gone in the first half, putting in a rebound of a Montana Bassett save for the 1-0 lead.
The Bears came through with a couple of chances, with Savanna Bony ripping a shot in and Kylee MacDonald hitting Caroline Marchand with a bid, but Gilford held tight. Bassett had another save and Hayleigh LeTourneau was strong on defense. Gilford had a pair of corners that they could not convert on and Jasmine Peterson had a shot blocked at the other end. MacDonald and Marchand teamed up for a bid and then Peterson sent the ball in to MacDonald and Julianne Marchand but the ball was turned away by the defense.
The Bears were able to tie the game with 18:02 to go in the first half, as Peterson ripped a shot from just inside the circle on the Bears' first corner of the game.
The Bears continued to have chances, with Julianne Marchand sending a shot wide and Katy Drapeau making a nice run into the zone. MacDonald had a shot go wide and then Peterson sent a shot in that Caroline Marchand tipped just wide of the net. Julianne Marchand had a nice crossing pass that missed connection in front and after nice defense from LeTourneau, MacDonald had a run into the zone. The Bears had another corner that saw Peterson send a shot wide.
However, with eight seconds left, the Bears continued the solid pressure and Caroline Marchand was able to put the ball in the net with eight seconds to go in the half, sending the game to the break with the Bears up 2-1.
Bassett had an early save in the second half and the Bears came back with a corner that went wide. Hannah Eastman was strong on defense for the Bears and then MacDonald had a bid denied.
Newfound came back with three corners in a row. LeTourneau had a shot blocked on the first bid and then Bony had one denied on the second.
However, the third bid found the net, as the ball bounced around in front of the net and Julianne Marchand put it in for the 3-1 lead with 24:33 to go in the game.
The Bears had another corner but could not connect, as LeTourneau's ball in to Peterson was stopped. Eastman turned in another strong defensive play. Gilford had a trio of corners but could not convert, as the Bears were solid in front of Bassett. The Golden Eagles did put one in the net but it was ruled the ball never left the circle and the 3-1 score held up for the Bears.
Peterson was pleased that the team converted on corners.
"That was one of our main focuses coming into the season," the veteran coach said. "Last year we didn't get shots to the cage, we have to get the ball in.
"Things can happen on corners, you've got to give yourself an opportunity to score," Peterson added. "Now they have to get used to playing with the lead."
The Bears traveled to Whitefield on Wednesday, Sept. 6, and defeated White Mountains by a 5-0 score.
Despite controlling much of the play in the first half, the Bears managed just one goal, as Peterson scored with 9:14 to go on a feed from Julianne Marchand. Peterson finished off the one-on-one with the goalie for the 1-0 lead at halfime.
"The second half provided more scoring opportunities and finally we were able to capitalize," Peterson noted.
Julianne Marchand connected on a corner with Peterson assisting with 19:09 to go for a 2-0 lead and then Caroline Marchand scored the next two, one with 14:44 to go and one with 8:04 to go on an assist from Bony. Tiffany Doan scored in the final seconds on a feed from Julianne Marchand to close out the 5-0 win.
Peterson praised the play of Drapeau and Bony in the midfield and noted that Peterson and Julianne Marchand were strong up front, with good defense from Mackenzie Ryan, Eastman and LeTourneau.
On Sept. 1, the Bears defeated Winnisquam by a 2-0 score.
Newfound scored on a corner on the first run into the zone. LeTourneau passed to Peterson, who put a shot on net and Julianne Marchand put the bouncing ball home just 50 seconds in for a 1-0 lead.
They doubled the lead 14 minutes into the half on a tally from Caroline Marchand.
Peterson noted that Winnisquam controlled a lot of the play in the second half and her squad did not take advantage of a few good opportunities. LeTourneau and Eastman earned the coach's praise for their defensive work, while Bassett had eight saves in earning the shutout.
The Bears will be hosting Pembroke on Friday, Sept. 15, and Littleton on Tuesday, Sept. 19, both at 4 p.m. at Kelley Park.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.