WORCESTER – The Watertown field hockey team survived an early onslaught by Auburn and pulled away to win the MIAA Div. 2 State Championship 6-0 on Saturday at WPI.
The title is the Raiders’ seventh straight, and completed an historic season that also saw the team set the record for the longest unbeaten streak in the nation. After the final whistle blew, senior Michaela Antonellis fought back tears of joy as she embraced fellow co-captain, senior Ally McCall.
“It was just never losing a game – me and Ally … all of us!” Antonellis said. “We are so excited. We are so proud of this team. We have been through so much this year. It is just an unforgettable season.”
The Raiders did not take the Rockets lightly, said Watertown Head Coach Eileen Donahue.
“We were very, very concerned about this team and we should be,”Donahue said. “It is a talented, talented program and coaching staff.”
Donahue said she tells her team to be ready for anything.
“You’ve got to stay poised,” Donahue said. “You have to keep your composure because you are never sure what’s coming your way.”
Both teams had their chances offensively early in the first half, each having a few corners to work with. Watertown was the first to take advantage. Eleven minutes before halftime a Raider shot was blocked by Auburn, and a few players had a whack at the ball before senior Mikayla Paone knocked the ball in to take the lead.
Two minutes later junior Olivia Venezia shot the ball in for a 2-0 lead.
With just two minutes left the first half, Antonellis struck to make it 3-0 at halftime.
Auburn, however, did not give up, and had some opportunities early in the second half. It was the Raiders, however, who wound up scoring.
Sophomore Maddie Leitner scored the first of her two goals with 15 minutes left in the second half. She collected her second one 11 minutes later when she knocked in a hard pass from Antonellis.
Watertown continued to press and when a Rocket defender tripped junior Aurora Fidler, the referee awarded Watertown with a penalty stroke. Junior Kourtney Kennedy shot the ball to the right of the goalie to make it 6-0 with three minutes remaining in the game.
Then the Raiders just ran out the clock before celebrating in a scrum in the middle of the field.
The senior class finished the season undefeated and will graduate having never experience the bitter taste of defeat.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” Anotnellis said. ” We obviously would not be in this situation without Miss Donahue. We are so lucky to have her. We are so lucky to be in the position to never lose a game.
“That never happens. We are so unbelievably lucky!”