Watertown field hockey team’s record of success became legendary. A Raider win seemed so reliable that you could set your watch to it. But the day that seemed like it may never come arrived Monday when Watertown lost its first game in more than eight years.
The Raiders’ streak extended for 184 games, setting a new national record unbeaten steak. At the same time, they set the standard high school field hockey programs by winning 124 straight.
The streak ran for eight straight seasons, and one game into the ninth, as Watertown won its opener against Reading last week. Monday, the Raiders traveled to Winchester and ran into an inspired Sachem team, which won 3-0
Watertown Coach Eileen Donahue told the Boston Herald that Winchester “wanted the game more and that “we have no excuses.” She added that her team was not focused on the streak on Monday, or at other times during the streak.
Donahue gave credit to all the teams, players and coaches from the past who built the record-long streak when she spoke with WBZ radio on Monday. As is her fashion, she added that she was focused on Tuesday’s practice.
Watertown’s last loss came in the 2008 state semifinal when Hopkinton beat the Raiders 3-2. Winchester also provided the last blemish on Watertown’s record, a 1-1 tie in 2011.
For the first few years of the streak, the focus was more on the run of state championships, which now stands at eight. People began to take notice of the Raiders’ streak in 2013 when the team broke the previous Massachusetts record unbeaten streak of 98 by Walpole. The 99th straight unbeaten game gave Watertown the third longest streak in the nation, and later that year the Raiders passed Casady School’s (Oklahoma City) 106 straight for the third spot.
(Watertown field hockey team celebrates setting the unbeaten streak record on Oct. 21, 2015.)
The final hurdle was the 153 straight unbeaten by New Jersey’s Voorhees Eastern. Watertown High School Athletic Director Michael Lahiff began tracking the wins by posting huge numerals facing Common Street from the window’s of his office. On Oct. 21, 2015 Watertown cruised to a 6-0 over Melrose at Victory Field to set the new national record unbeaten streak. The achievement drew the focus of local, state and even some nation media outlets.
A year later, the Raiders set another national record winning its 107th straight game, surpassing Casady School. The win made local headlines. The 2016 season ended with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Oakmont in the state final to capture Watertown’s eighth straight state championship – the programs 17th overall.
Watertown will not be able to avenge its loss to Winchester this season. Although the Sachems are in the Middlesex League, they are not in the same division as Watertown so they only play once. The Sachems are in Division 1 for the MIAA playoffs, while the Raiders are in Division 2.
Monday night the School Committee paid tribute to the streak.
“We are proud of the record you had set, a national record,” said School Committee Chairman John Portz.
Former WHS field hockey player and current School Committee member Kendra Foley said the team always showed true character.
“Win, lose – you always do it with grace,” Foley said. “The streak has been incredible.”
Senior field hockey player Lauren Petrillo, who attended the meeting as one of the student representatives to the School Committee, was still wearing the uniform she wore against Winchester when she gave the report. Afterward she reflected briefly on the loss.
“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Petrillo said.