READING — In the unfamiliar position of facing elimination from the State Tournament, Watertown High School’s field hockey team rallied in the second half of the North Section semifinal and scored a goal in the second overtime to beat Lynnfield 2-1, Thursday night.
The Raiders have won nine straight MIAA Div. 2 State Championships, and rarely trailed along the way. The Pioneers, however, did not lie down for defending champs.
While the Raiders had controlled most of the play through the game, it was the Pioneers who scored first with 19:27 left in the second half when Ashley Barrett scored on a pass from Brianna Barrett.
Watertown Head Coach Eileen Donahue told her team not to focus on winning.
“We were just focusing on tying it, not winning or anything else,” Donahue said. “That’s what we said when we called timeout.”
Lynfield held on for several minutes, but with 10:38 left in the second half Watertown got a penalty stroke when the ball hit a Pioneer defender who was too close to the goal line. Watertown junior Ally Kennedy sent the ball into the roof of the net to tie the game.
The teams remained tied 1-1 after regulation and went into a 10-minute sudden-death overtime. The teams played 7 players vs. 7 players.
The Raiders appeared to be on the verge of winning the game when Kennedy was tripped in the circle. She again set up for a penalty stroke, but this time the ball struck the crossbar and bounced out.
Watertown pressured Lynnfield, but could not score in the first overtime, so the teams headed into a second OT.
After getting a corner, the Raiders appeared to clinch the victory on a goal off a corner with 9:09 left in the second OT. However, after a discussion, the referees disallowed the goal because the ball never went out of the circle. The result of the play, however, was another corner.
Watertown ran the same play and this time they the ball was played correctly and Kennedy fed a pass to senior Catherine Connors who scored from just outside the net.
“It was the same thing, Olivia (Lampasona) stopped it, sent it to Ally (Kennedy) and Ally came in and gave it to me,” Connors said.
Watertown was not disheartened by missing out on the first opportunity, Connors said.
“It was intense, but we have played through everything, so I knew, no big deal, we’ll get the next play,” Connors said. “When I saw Ally get the ball and was tracking right, I knew I needed to get the dead stop and just send it in.”
While it is rare for Watertown to trail in any game, Connors said the team was prepared.
“We’re just told, no matter how the game’s going, never to give up,:” Connors said. “No matter what the score is, even when your up 5-0, you should be playing like you are down 1-0.”
Donahue gave credit to the Pioneers for their effort.
“Both teams played very well,” Donahue said. “Our team is very, very fortunate. Lynnfield played us tough.”
Watertown (19-0-1) now faces Manchester-Essex (16-0-5) in the North Section Final on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. in North Andover. The Hornets won their section semi against Gloucester on penalty shots on Wednesday.