Moscaritolo strikes in OT
Special to The Recorder/J. Anthony Roberts
Frontier’s goalkeeper Gwendolyn Thayer comes charging out to make a sliding kick save on a good scoring chance by Mohawk’s Angela Younger during the second half of a 2-1 overtime win by the two-time defending-champ Red Hawks Thursday in WMass Division II Field Hockey Tournament semifinal action at Clark Field in West Springfield.
West Springfield 11/7/13. Frontier's #6 Rose Moscaritolo, powers the ball up the field pasts Mohawk's #13 Amanda Taylor in the 1st half.
photo by J. Anthony Roberts
West Springfield 11/7/13. Frontier's #5 Melinda Esposito, powers the ball up the field along the sideline as Mohawk's #15 Rebecca Scranton gives chase in the 1st half.
photo by J. Anthony Roberts
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Frontier Regional School midfielder Taryn Marquis knew that if she threw the ball toward the net, good things could happen. So the senior field hockey player did just that 3 minutes, 30 seconds into overtime of Thursday night’s WMass Division II semifinal game, and teammate Rose Moscaritolo surprised the Mohawk Trail Regional High School defense by slipping in behind the last defender to one-time home the ball just inside the near post and send the Red Hawks into spontaneous jubilation with a 2-1 victory at Clark Field.
The second-seeded Red Hawks (15-4-1) advance to Saturday’s championship game against top-seeded Smith Academy at the same venue and a time to be determined.
The game-winning goal started when Marquis took the ball 35 yards out from the Mohawk net and carried in toward the top of the circle, where she was met by a Mohawk defender. The Frontier midfielder fired the ball toward the Mohawk cage and it appeared that it was going to go out of bounds to the right of the net. But Moscaritolo was Johnny on the spot, outracing the ball to the end line and catching the Mohawk defense by surprise, snapping off a quick one-timer before the ball crossed the end-line and slamming it into the net to set off a celebration.
“I usually pass sooner than I did, but I felt like I could take it, so I went around and passed it in,” Marquis said of the game-winner. “That’s always my plan. Send it toward goal and if my shot doesn’t go in, hopefully someone else gets it in. I’m happy that Rose did.”
Moscaritolo talked about the heady play.
“I saw the goalie not going toward the ball and the girl on the post not going toward the ball and I took a chance,” she said. “Luckily, I got a stick on it.”
Mohawk (8-8-4) nearly had a chance to win it earlier in the 7 on 7 overtime, when Holly Brown was nearly sent in on a breakaway 40 yards out from the Frontier cage. The forward was inadvertently tripped on the play and nothing came of the chance.
“I thought that should have been a call,” Mohawk coach Lynn Hoeppner said. “Kesheal Henderson would have taken the restart and brought it right in and scored on that.”
The Warriors got on the board first and took a 1-0 lead into halftime. After Frontier controlled play for the first 15 minutes of the opening 30, the Warriors took over and had possession in the Frontier half of the field for much of the late stages of the first half. That pressure paid off when Mohawk got the ball deep in the Frontier circle with 7:18 remaining before the break. A clearing attempt by a Frontier defender was one-timed back toward the Red Hawks’ net by Amanda Taylor and the ball made its way through a screen and into the net.
Frontier regained its composure to start the second half and took just 4 minutes, 12 seconds to net the equalizer. While Moscaritolo was on the scoring end of the game-winner, she helped set up the Hawks’ first goal, streaking down the right side of the field past the Mohawk defender before firing a pass across the Mohawk crease, where McKayla Poissant had her stick on the ground and redirected the ball into a wide-open cage.
“McKayla Poissant has been huge for us on that post, coming up with big goals when it matters,” Frontier coach Missy Mahar said. “It’s about her being in the right position.”
Mohawk did not go away quietly and had more time of possession during the remaining 25 minutes of play, although both sides thought they had the game-winner late in regulation. Kesheal Henderson, who will be nominated by Hoeppner for All-American honors and was her usual solid self in the final Mohawk game, fired a shot from just outside the top of the circle that went into the goal but it was disallowed because it was not touched by a player before going in. Frontier took the restart, marched down the field and Poissant stopped the ball to the left of the Mohawk net, turned and lofted an arching shot into the net, but it was not allowed because the ball hit Poissant’s foot.
Frontier goalie Gwen Thayer finished with three saves to post the win, while Mohawk’s Erin Townsley turned aside four shots in the loss.
“I’m super proud of the way the girls played,” Hoeppner said. “From where we started in the beginning of the season to where we are today (is amazing). We scored first and have had trouble scoring all season long, I have no regrets about how the girls played in this game. You saw how many times girls went down and how many times they got back up.”
Frontier now gets a shot at winning its third-straight WMass Division II crown, something Thayer and Moscaritolo beamed about following Thursday’s win.
“We’re hoping,” Thayer said of winning a third. “We’re going to bring our all. It’s been our goal since the summer and we’ll bring our all on Saturday.”