NORTH ANDOVER — The Watertown High School field hockey team had precious few chances in the North Section final on Saturday, but the Raiders converted a second half corner for the game winner against Manchester-Essex.
The victory gives Watertown (20-0-1) 11 straight Section crowns, and the team is seeking its 10th straight State Championship. The Raiders’ title hopes, however, looked shaky for much of the battle of undefeated teams.
The Hornets (16-1-5) controlled the play in the first half and the beginning of the second. Manchester-Essex had five corners in the first half, while the Raiders had none. The Hornets hit the post on one shot, but sophomore goalie Elaine Andrade and the Watertown defense kept the ball out of the net.
In the second half the Raiders survived more offensive waves from Manchester-Essex, which got two more corners and twice played with an extra player after a Raiders’ player was carded.
Watertown’s offense came to life with about 15 minutes left in the second half, and with under 11 minutes the Raiders got their first corner of the game. Freshman Taylor Lambo made it count by putting the ball into the goal.
“It was kind of just in the area, I was in front of the goal and I was trying to hit it as hard as I could because I knew it was important,” Lambo said.
The score came off a scrum in front of Manchester-Essex senior goalie Christina Calandra.
“I wasn’t trying to lift it, I was just trying to get it so someone would get it in the goal,” Lambo said. “We were talking about how good (Calandra) was so it was so cool.”
Watertown ran out the clock and clinched yet another Section championship. Senior Gabby Venezia said the team never gave up.
“We try just to stay poised,” Venezia said. “We can’t give up on ourselves or else that’s when more mistakes come.”
A relieved Watertown Head Coach Eileen Donahue said that her team took advantages of the few chances it had.
“We took our few opportunities. We were fortunate, we had two corners all game. One out of two, I’ll take that those odds on that,” Donahue said. “They held us defensively, we held them defensively, too.”
The Raiders move on to the State Semifinal for a rematch of last year’s semi against Dennis-Yarmouth (19-0-3). Last year, Watertown won 1-0. The Dolphins won the South Championship Saturday by defeating Cohasset 6-0. The game will be at Braintree High School on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.