Class B field hockey: Heather French’s early goal sends Greenfield past South Hadley, back to WMass final

  • Greenfield’s Heather French (left) and Josie Cloutier celebrate coming off the field in the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B semifinal against South Hadley on Wednesday night. French put the Green Wave ahead 1-0 with a first-quarter goal. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 10/27/2021 9:54:25 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — It was a blistering start for the Greenfield field hockey team on Wednesday in the Class B semifinals against South Hadley. 

The Green Wave came out flying from the opening whistle and earned multiple corners, ultimately leading to Lillia Kachelmeyer finding Heather French for a tap in goal to put Greenfield ahead 1-0 with 6:48 to go in the first frame.

From there, it was survive and advance. The third-seeded Green Wave played stout defense the rest of the way through to pull out a 1-0 victory and advance to Thursday’s Class B title game against Smith Academy. That game will be played at Holyoke High School at 7 p.m.

“I’m really proud of them,” Greenfield coach Erin Thayer said. “They battled hard, they never gave up and did all the things we’ve been trying to do the last couple weeks.” 

Ainslee Flynn was called into action to make just two saves in the win. Greenfield held a 7-5 edge in penalty corners.

Flynn saved a goal just before the first half drew to a close. No. 2 South Hadley earned four second quarter corners and had its best chance on the final one. The ball went in the circle and deflected in traffic, but Flynn made a diving save to prevent the Tigers from tying the game at the half.

While Flynn had to make a big save to close out the first half, it was the last time she was touched the ball the rest of the way. South Hadley was unable to put a shot on goal in the second half, much due to the play of the Green Wave midfield and defense who did a great job holding down the Tiger attack. 

Thayer was pleased with the way her defense played on Wednesday, knowing how difficult it is to stop a fierce South Hadley offense. 

“My defense played great today,” Thayer said. “All of them played incredibly well. They stepped up in big situations, stopped the ball and did great.” 

The second half saw the action go up and down the field, but neither team was able to produce great chances. The Tigers didn’t put a shot on goal but Greenfield was only able to produce one shot for South Hadley goalie Kaitlyn Lynes to save. Lynes finished with four saves in the loss. 

The Green Wave knew how difficult it was going to be to come out with a win against the Tigers. Wednesday was the third time the two schools have faced off this season, with South Hadley winning the first game 2-0 on Sept. 20 and the second game, 2-1, on Oct. 16. 

Greenfield had a great week of practice leading up to Wednesday’s game and it showed on the field. 

“The past two days have been great,” Thayer said. “We’ve had some turning points these last couple practices. I saw the sparkle in their eyes and the confidence on their faces. We had some good things going so I knew they were ready in all aspects of the game; physically ready, mentally ready, emotionally ready. We were there.” 

The Green Wave move on to take on a Falcon squad it didn’t play during the regular season. The two teams did scrimmage, however, giving some familiarity going into the title game showdown. 

“We’ll go into to[Thursday] and just have to see what happens,” Thayer said. 


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