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Wave’s road ends abruptly, 7-1

  • Above, Greenfield’s Audrey Bresciano (10) battles for possession with Oakmont’s Rachael Lemay (11) during first-half action of Greenfield’s crushing 7-1 loss in the MIAA Division II state field hockey semifinal Tuesday night at Grafton High School. Below, Greenfield’s Olivia Joy (8) carries the ball upfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield sniper Raegan Hickey (5) shoots past Oakmont defender Jordan Bartell (8) for a goal in the first half of a 7-1 loss Tuesday night at the MIAA Division II state field hockey semifinal at Grafton High School. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield goalkeeper Samantha Smith lunges for a save against Oakmont in the first half of a 7-1 MIAA Division II state field hockey semifinal loss Tuesday night at Grafton High School. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield’s Olivia Joy (8) carries the ball upfield during a 7-1 loss to Oakmont Tuesday night during the MIAA Division II state field hockey semifinal at Grafton High School. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield’s Ashley Hubbard (23) dribbles downfield contested by Oakmont’s Sarah Craig (2) during first-half action of the MIAA Division II state field hockey semifinal Tuesday night at Grafton High School. Greenfield fell, 7-1. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

GRAFTON — Perhaps the Greenfield High School field hockey team coach Erin Thayer observed all season got lost on the Mass Pike during the 90-plus-minute trip to Grafton High School for Tuesday night’s MIAA Division II state semifinal game.

Why?

Because the squad she watched play central Massachusetts champion Oakmont High School looked nothing like the back-to-back western Massachusetts champion she was accustomed to watching.

Instead, a lackadaisical Green Wave team got behind early and never recovered en route to a 7-1 loss to Oakmont.

The Green Wave (15-5-1) lost to Oakmont (17-3-0) in the state semifinals for the second consecutive season. Last season, the score was 4-1. Thayer felt like this season could be different. Her team had matured from a season ago. Instead, Oakmont took control early and, after Greenfield tied the game 1-1 in the middle of the first half, Oakmont retook the lead less than a minute later and went on to score six unanswered goals to bury the Wave.

“I have no idea what team that was that showed up out there today. That was not the team I know,” a dejected Thayer remarked after the game. “We had a lack of fight, lack of fire. I don’t know what happened.”

What happened was that Oakmont put together what coach Leanne Roy and star player Madelyn Moran called their team’s best game of the season. The Oakmont offense looked nearly unstoppable at times, using nifty stick skills to dribble around and through the Green Wave defense, piling up quality scoring chance after quality scoring chance. Oakmont peppered Greenfield goalie Samantha Smith (13 saves) with 20 shots. And the solid offensive effort translated into a good defense, as the Wave’s inability to get the ball out of its own end limited the number of chances for snipers Raegan Hickey, Audrey Bresciano and Olivia Joy.

“Defensively, we got rolled over,” Thayer said. “We didn’t play defense at all.”

Oakmont got on the board 3 minutes, 6 seconds into the game when Smith came out to make a diving save on a partial break-in by Kelsey Rasmuson. The rebound deflected to Lauren Ladue, who fired it through a wall of players and into the goal.

Greenfield came back just over 10 minutes later, following its first sustained pressure of the game. That resulted in a Green Wave corner inserted to Hickey. She tapped a pass to her left to Bresciano ans she laid the ball back in the direction of Hickey, who had moved toward net. There, the Wave sniper blasted a one-timer past Oakmont goalie Sam Gastonguay (three saves).

It took Oakmont 55 seconds to answer. The Spartans worked the ball into the Green Wave zone and forced Smith to make a pair of saves before the ball found the stick of Moran, who dribbled toward net seemingly uncontested and easily beat Smith to put Oakmont in front for good with 15:37 to play in the half.

That opened the floodgates. While Greenfield had just one more shot the rest of the first half, Oakmont was on its way to 12 shots. Five minutes after Oakmont took the lead, freshman Irini Stefanakos made it a two-goal game following an Oakmont corner that saw Rachel Lemay hit Stefanakos on the post for an easy tap-in. That was the start of a four-goal night for Stefanakos, who scored all three of Oakmont’s second-half goals as well.

“She started the year on JV but got very comfortable and has proven her spot as a starter,” Roy said of the precocious Stefanakos.

Oakmont made it 4-1 before halftime when it was awarded a penalty stroke following a flurry in front of the Wave net and Moran fired it in.

Greenfield had one chance in the second half to get on the board when Hickey beat Gastonguay for what looked like a goal but the ball was cleared off the line by Lemay.

The loss ended the careers of five Wave seniors — Elizabeth Howland, Kirsten Ward, Lindsey McGahan, Ashley Hubbard and Chloe Wells.

Oakmont will face eight-time defending state champion Watertown High School in the finals on Saturday.