Wave ousted by Smith, 3-0
Special to The Recorder/J. Anthony Roberts
Smith Academy phenom Danielle Duseau (5) races down Clark Field in West Springfield Wednesday in the company of Greenfield’s Amanda Elwell (1) and Erika Glabach (3), all pursuing the ball during Smith’s 3-0 WMass Division II Field Hockey Tournament semifinal victory.
West Springfield 11/6/13. Greenfield's keeper #00 Maureen Fish, uses her pads to clear the ball away from the net in the 1st half.
photo by J. Anthony Roberts
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Maybe on a grass field and perhaps on a night when Smith Academy wasn’t playing at its absolute best could fourth-seeded Greenfield High School have pulled off an upset. But not on a turf field. And not on this night.
The top-seeded Falcons imposed their will early and continued their dominance over the course of 60 minutes en route to a 3-0 WMass Division II Field Hockey Tournament semifinal victory over the Green Wave Wednesday night at Clark Field.
Smith Academy (13-5-1) took nine shots and won four corners in the first four minutes of the game, and had it not been for the unworldly play of Greenfield netminder Maureen Fish (28 saves), the game could have gotten out of hand early. As it turned out, Fish stopped the first 12 shots she faced — many of those labeled — before finally giving up the game’s first goal 10 minutes, 30 seconds in, when Princeton-bound Falcons’ senior Danielle Duseau blasted a laser beam along the turf to the right side of the goal that Fish had little chance on.
Just under three minutes later, Duseau struck again, this time after putting on a dribbling clinic, as she took the ball from 25 yards out and beat three Green Wave defenders on her way to the top of the circle before finally winding up and uncorking another shot that Fish still hasn’t seen, as it went through a screen in front and beat the goalie clean.
“We haven’t played a game since the 25th of October and, as a coach, you always wonder if you did everything you needed to get your team ready,” Smith coach Dena Polverari said. “But we’ve had a lot of time to scrimmage other teams and we came up with a number of drills in practice to prepare us to play early in games, and that definitely showed tonight. We’re a senior-led team and they definitely got the girls ready to play tonight.”
Those two goals capped off a first half in which Smith Academy fired 19 shots on the Green Wave goal on nine corner opportunities. Greenfield, meanwhile, was unable to get anything going in the way of sustained pressure. In fact, the Green Wave spent precious little time on the attacking side of the field, finishing with just one corner and no shots in the opening half. That carried over to the second half, as Smith Academy finished with a 31-0 edge in shots, and a 15-2 edge in corners. The discrepancy was due in part to Smith Academy’s stick skills and passing game — made even better on a smooth, turf playing surface — as well as the cooperative defense the Falcons used to lock the ball into the Green Wave zone.
“They are definitely very skilled on turf,” Greenfield coach Erin Thayer said. “We just didn’t step to the ball early on. We progressively got better as the game went on, but it wasn’t there early on.”
Smith Academy capped the scoring 9:21 into the second half when Izzy Duseau (the eighth-grade sister of Danielle) carried the ball in along the end line from the right of the Green Wave cage and fed it in front to Jen Adamites, who fought off the Wave defenders to pot the goal.
Overshadowed in the loss was the play of Fish, who played her best game of the season, according to Thayer, and was the reason the Falcons didn’t have a much higher goal total.
“I’ve known all season that she had that in her,” Thayer said. “She was awesome. Since we’ve started the tournament, we’ve been working her hard and she kept us in the game.”
While Smith Academy now advances to the WMass finals to be played Saturday at a time to be determined against the winner of tonight’s other semifinal between second-seeded Frontier Regional School and third-seeded Mohawk Trail Regional High School, it marks the end of the line for the Wave, which was making its first tournament appearance since 2009. Senior captain Danielle Townsley said that although upset with the result, she was glad to have the opportunity to play in the tournament.
“It’s definitely a great feeling,” she began. “We haven’t been here in a while, so it was definitely nice to get this far.”