Frontier ousted in OT, 2-1
SARAH GANZHORN Frontier Regional's Taryn Marquis, right, tries to get the ball away from Smith Academy's Danielle Duseau during the MIAA West Division 2 field hockey final Saturday at Clark Field in West Springfield. Duseau scored a goal in overtime, leading Smith to a 2-1 victory and the championship.
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Frontier Regional School rode an emotional roller coaster in Saturday’s WMass Division II Field Hockey championship game.
A goal with no time left in regulation helped the second-seeded Red Hawks to send things into overtime, but Smith Academy sniper Danielle Duseau struck for the game-winner with 7 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first sudden-death extra period to help the top-seeded Falcons to a 2-1 win Saturday at Clark Field.
The championship is the first for the Falcons (14-5-1) since 2009 and halted a two-year winning streak by the Red Hawks.
The game-winner came minutes after Duseau smoked a blast off the left post and was the culmination of pressure applied by the Falcons during the overtime. The goal came when eighth-grader Izzy Duseau, the younger sister of Danielle, played the ball ahead to her older sister. Duseau carried it into the circle before she wound up and unleashed what has now become her trademark bomb, and the ball beat Frontier goalie Gwen Thayer near the right post.
“It feels amazing,” Duseau said after the game. “It doesn’t feel real. We all gave 100 percent. All of our work during the season paid off and we were just lucky to get a goal.”
Smith Academy nearly won things earlier in the overtime, but Thayer was forced to make one of her 11 saves minutes into the frame when Falcons’ forward Kelly Ryan got alone in the box. Thayer came diving out and stacked the pads to kick the ball away from danger.
All of this came after Frontier did the unthinkable at the end of regulation. The Red Hawks (15-5-1), who had applied the pressure for much of the second half after giving up a goal to Smith Academy just 1:25 after halftime, managed to work the ball into the Falcons’ box and received a corner with only seconds remaining. In field hockey, the half does not come to an end on a corner; instead, the corner is played out until the defensive team clears the ball. The corner marked the 11th of the second half for Frontier. With no time left on the clock, the ball was played in but went off a Smith Academy defenders’ foot, which led to another corner. The clock still read zero as the Hawks played the ball in on their 12th corner. This time, Jordyn Roberts managed to work it in front to Rose Moscaritolo, who slammed it home past sprawling Smith Academy goalie Lauren Bradford (15 saves). Moscaritolo, the overtime hero in the semifinals, set off a spontaneous celebration by the Hawks’ players and bench for the second time in two days.
“I think it showed a lot of character about the team,” Frontier coach Missy Mahar said of the late goal. “They didn’t say this was over.”
The first half of the game saw Smith Academy with the better of the chances, including with 1:10 left when the Falcons were awarded a penalty stroke. Duseau took the stroke and fired a shot high to her left, but Thayer got her blocker out and turned the ball aside. Thayer also robbed Katie Yagodzinski on a pair of chances in the opening frame, as well as stopping Ryan on a breakaway early in the first half.
“Gwen was phenomenal,” Mahar said. “She had the best game of her career today. She’s been part of the reason why we got so far this season, coming up with big saves in key games.”
The teams went into halftime tied at 0-0, but the Falcons wasted little time breaking the deadlock as the first shot by either team of the second half found the back of the net. Jen Adamites played a ball into the circle toward the left side of the Frontier goal and Ryan swept at the ball, sending it just inside the far post.
Frontier had a number of chances to tie the score later in the second half, including its best chance when Bradford made a save but laid down on the ball to keep it out of the net, an infraction that gave the Red Hawks a penalty stroke of their own. Taryn Marquis shot the ball knee-high to her left, but Bradford was up to the task, diving toward the post and getting her blocker on it.
Smith Academy advances to play Central Mass. champion Auburn High School (22-0) in the Division II State semifinals Tuesday at 5 at Grafton High School. Frontier will lose seven seniors next season, including Thayer, who was visibly upset with the loss, but was not unhappy with her team’s performance both on Saturday and during her career.
“We fought to the death,” she concluded. “We threw it all in there, because we knew it was going to be our last game. It’s been a phenomenal career both from years past until now. We still have a bond as a team and we did our best. We threw it all on the field.”