NORWELL — The Raiders 2-0 victory over Sandwich on Saturday clinched the Watertown High School field hockey program’s 20th State Championship, and two straight MIAA Div. 3 State Tournament titles.
In 2021, the Raiders returned to the top after a four-year drought by winning in double-overtime. This year, the Raiders scored goals in each half to secure the trophy, but the lack of suspense did not mute the celebration.
After the team received their medals and trophy, and posed for a team photo, the players grabbed their winnings and went to celebrate with their fans.
The victory was a perfect way to wrap up a career for senior co-captains Maggie Driscoll and Lizzie Loftus.
“It’s the greatest feeling ever!” Driscoll said. “This is the ultimate goal to end the season, to get here and win this game. I can’t even describe it. It doesn’t feel real.”
Loftus added: “It’s just so good. It’s a good way to go out. I’m just so proud of everyone and all the work that everyone’s done.”
Watertown Head Coach Eileen Donahue said the championship was built on the contributions of all her players, who kept the eye on the ultimate goal.
“As with anything, it is cliche, but it’s one practice at a time, one game at time,” Donahue said. “And we’ve had different people stand up throughout the tournament. A lot of different people did different things. They might have been on the field today, they might not have, but in another game they might have been on the field when someone else wasn’t.”
On Saturday a pair of players had big moments. The first quarter was even, and ended scoreless. Less than two minutes into the second quarter senior Allie Fijux hit the back of the Sandwich net.
“It was an amazing feeling to get that goal, my stick was just there,” Fijux said.
Donahue had a message for the team between quarters, Fijux said.
“She said we just need to calm down and we got it,” she said.
The half ended with Watertown holding a 1-0 lead, and for most of the third quarter both teams struggled to create offensive chances. Then the Raiders got a string of corners, and on the final one sophomore Caroline Andrade scored off a pass from junior Molly Driscoll.
“I thought it was a great pass from Molly,” Andrade said. “It was really exciting to get that shot right in the corner. (It was) a big win.”
The Blue Knights were a familiar foe from last year’s final, though Donahue noted that the rosters for both teams have changed significantly. For the players there is a burgeoning rivalry between Watertown and Sandwich, which is not just limited to the two field hockey finals. In March, the boy’s hockey teams met in the State Final in March, when the Blue Knights were victorious in overtime.
“We’ve both beaten them and lost to them in state championships in hockey and field hockey, so knowing that they are going to bring more to the table because it is kind of personal for both sides,” Driscoll said.
With the victory, Watertown ended the season 22-0, and it also extended the Raiders’ winning streak to 52 games. Loftus said that while the team loses 10 seniors, the Raiders will still be formidable next year.
“I think they can go so far. They are just such a talented group of people,” she said. “We have a lot of seniors but our strength is very young as well. We have a lot of people coming up and really working for it and working to get better. I think that future years have high hopes, and obviously with Miss Donahue coaching.”
Read the highlights from the State Final here: