Wave eyes Oakmont rematch

  • Greenfield’s Olivia Joy (8) figures to be a going concern for Oakmont tonight in state Division II field hockey semifinal action at Grafton High School. Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield’s Lindsey McGahan (21) will join her Green Wave teammates tonight in the state Division II field hockey semifinals at Grafton High School. RECORDER file photo/DAN LITTLE

  • You can bet potent Greenfield sniper Audrey Bresciano (10) will be where the action is tnight at Grafton High School, where her Green Wave will meet Oakmont in the state Division II field hockey semifinals. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield’s Katie Haselton (2) is usually in the thick of things, which should not change tonight when her Green Wave collides with Oakmont in the state Division II feld hockey semifinals. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

Recorder Staff
Monday, November 13, 2017

After a thrilling overtime victory over its chief rival to capture the WMass championship for a second consecutive season, the Greenfield High School field hockey team must now refocus with eyes shifting toward pursuit of another title.

The Green Wave will tackle a familiar foe when it meets central Mass. champion Oakmont Regional High School tonight in the MIAA Division II state semifinals. The teams are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at Grafton High School.

It’s the second straight year the two teams have collided with a spot in the state-championship game on the line. In last year’s meeting in West Springfield, Greenfield (15-4-1) scored first, but Oakmont rallied with four unanswered goals to capture a 4-1 victory. The Spartans went on to fall to Watertown High School, 4-3, in the state final.

“The girls are very excited about the opportunity to play Oakmont again,” explained Greenfield head coach Erin Thayer. “We played them really tough in the first half last year. None of these kids had ever experienced playing on a big stage like that. To be honest, I think at the end of last year we were satisfied with a WMass title. But this year, we aren’t just happy to be there. The girls are hungry for more.”

Oakmont (16-3) enters tonight’s state semifinal after a 2-1 win over Quaboag Regional High School in the central Mass. title game last week. Star midfielder Maddie Moran scored the game-winning goal late to guide her team to a second straight sectional title. Moran, who will play in college at Division I University of Vermont next year, sets the tone for the Spartans. She scored the go-ahead tally in last year’s state semifinal win over the Wave.

“She’s a really strong player,” explained Thayer. “We talked a lot about her strengths. Some of the kids have played with her in the offseason, so they know how good she is.

“But our game plan isn’t going to be any different than it’s been the last few games,” she continued. “Everybody has to come and do their job.”

Coming off the high of a WMass title-game victory over Frontier Regional School, Thayer said her team took a day to enjoy the championship before refocusing their efforts on another familiar foe.

“We were excited on Friday (after Thursday’s win), chatted a lot and relived the game a bit,” she offered. “But our intense focus is back to prepare for Oakmont. All I have to do is bring them right back to the game from last year against (Oakmont); help them relive and remember that game. I think that’s all it’ll take for them to get recharged.”

A win tonight would be give WMass its first Division II team in the state finals since Mohawk Trail Regional High School reached the championship game in 2008. On the other side of the bracket, eight-time defending state champion Watertown High School (20-1) meets Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School (20-1-2) in a semifinal game tonight at Braintree High School. The winners meet Saturday at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, weather permitting. Rian is in the Saturday forecast.

To get there, Thayer said her team will need to come out and play better in the first half than they did in the title game against Frontier.

“We need to come out and make sure we play 60 minutes of hockey,” she began. “We didn’t come out well against Frontier, and I could tell during warm-ups that we were a little flat. We have to be sure we step 100 percent to balls and play like there’s no tomorrow, because if we lose, there isn’t.”

The Division I semifinal between Longmeadow High School and Algonquin Regional High School kicks off the doubleheader tonight in Grafton. Those schools will play at 5 p.m., with the Greenfield-Oakmont game to follow at 7.