Andover Golden Warriors Field Hockey '19

Sat, Nov 09, 2019 03:00 PM @ Acton-Boxboro
Team 1st 2nd OT Final
Andover 0 0 1 1
Acton-Boxboro 0 0 0 0

Gillette dazzles, Andover wins North title

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Saturday, November, 09 By David Willis
Staff writer

READING — With a trip to the state semifinals on the line, Andover's Paige Gillette refused to crack.

The goalie turned in a whopping 32 saves, keeping unbeaten No. 1 seed Acton-Boxboro scoreless through regular and two overtimes, and No. 3 seed Andover delivered in the penalty stroke shootout to earn a, technically, 1-0 victory and the Division 1 North championship.

"This was a tremendous effort by the team," said Andover coach Maureen Noone. "I think tonight with the clicking point that they realized, no matter who we play, we have a good chance to win. I am so proud of this team. It was a great win."

The Golden Warriors advance to take on defending Division 1 state champion and current South champ Somerset Berkley on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Braintree.

The star of the day was Gillette, a junior first-year starter who had never played goalie until trying the position out last fall. 

Gillette turned in a key penalty stroke save in the first half. Then, she iced the victory in shootout, stopping Acton-Boxboro's fourth shooter, then scrambling to haul in the rebound and clinch the victory.

"Paige was on her head tonight," said Noone. "AB had a shot on the rebound on the final shooter, but Paige cleared it with her glove. She really made two saves on that play.

"To me, Paige is a throw-back leader. She's a three-sport athlete that's as nutty as they come. She's super athletic, genuine, never misses a practice. She's in it to win it, and you can't teach that."

With their goalie dominating, Andover came through with the offense in the shootout. Golden Warriors Sydney Gregory, Hanna Medwar, Kate Gemmell and Heather Graham each delivered a goal as Andover won PKs 4-2.

Starring in the defensive effort for the Golden Warriors were Abby Miller, Alana Miller and Grace Ardito.

"Every game, someone else steps up," said Noone. "We are so young, with five great seniors, that so many have done an amazing job. We were so sound on defense, and we did create a few offensive chances."

A win on Tuesday would send Andover to the Division 1 title game for the first time since winning the championship in 2017. The Golden Warriors lost in the North finals last fall.

"Somerset Berkley is going to be tough," said Noone. "They are the defending champs, and they have two boys on the team, so that creates some controversy. We will have to be at our best, play good defense and capitalize on our offensive opportunities. We're excited."

Game Statistics:

Division 1 North Final

Pentalty stroke goals: A — Sydney Gregory, Hanna Medwar, Kate Gemmell, Heather Graham

Saves: A — Paige Gillette 32

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