BRAINTREE – Dennis-Yarmouth gave the Watertown High School field hockey team a run for their money, but the Raiders made an early goal stick as they won 1-0 the State Semifinal and are on their way to their ninth straight MIAA Div. 2 State Final.
From the first whistle, the Dolphins showed they could threaten the Watertown net, and had two early corners, but the Raiders took the ball down the the field and senior Sydney Poulin got the space she needed to put the ball in the back of the D-Y net 5 minutes into the game.
“(Poulin) just kept staying with the play and found her opening. It’s nice to get that early and to hang on,” said Watertown field hockey coach Eileen Donahue.
The South Champs did not whither, however. A couple minutes later, Watertown senior goalie Jonna Kennedy had to save a point blank shot. And with just a couple minutes left in the first half, Kennedy was forced to make a kick save and bat a ball out of the air.
“My defense set it up good for me, so I just got the direct shots,” Kennedy said. “They made it easy for me to get the save because they did such a good job getting out there fast.”
In the second half, the Raiders were able to keep the Dolphins more at bay, but both teams had their opportunities. With 10 minutes left in the game, Watertown had multiple shots in one sequence, but D-Y junior goalie Cassandra Francis kept the ball out.
Donahue said her team’s endurance helped gain an advantage in the second half, but credited the Dolphins for clogging up the field so Watertown had a tough time advancing the ball.
As the clock ticked down, Watertown kept the ball in the D-Y end and for the ninth-straight year the Raiders celebrated clinching a trip to Worcester for the State Final. The win, however, was not an easy one, Donahue said.
“Our goalie came through and our defenders did a nice job getting the ball out,” Donahue said. “We are very fortunate to come out on top. We know that. We played a really great team.”
Kennedy said D-Y gave Watertown a real test.
“They came out hard. They wanted it – but we wanted it more,” she said.
On Saturday, the Raiders will take on Oakmont for the state championship at WPI. The start time has not been set. The game is a rematch of last year’s final, which Watertown won 4-3 on a late goal.