North Andover Scarlet Knights Field Hockey '07

Wed, Nov 07, 2007 07:30 PM @ North Andover
Team 1st 2nd Final
Playoff Game
Reading 0 1 1
North Andover 1 1 2
North Andover's tri-captain Katherine Andrusin (No. 16) battles for the ball against a Reading defender in field hockey tournament action. North Andover defeated Reading, 2-1.  » Carl Russo, Staff PhotographerMore photos

North Andover girls advance to North finals

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Thursday, November, 08 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

Like the New England Patriots prior to beating the Indianapolis Colts, there was a question about how the undefeated North Andover field hockey team would play when it finally got a challenge.

Last night in the Division 1 North semifinals at Walsh Stadium, the Knights finally got that test, and they passed it with flying colors, holding off a tough Reading team, 2-1.

The victory was the school-record 22nd of the season for North Andover as the Knights advance to Saturday's 1 p.m. championship game, also at Walsh Stadium against the winner of tonight's matchup between Andover and Acton-Boxboro.

"We haven't really had one (severe test), so this was a great win for us," said North Andover coach Dianne Freiermuth. "It was a terrific game between two great teams that could have gone either way."

The first half was pretty much of a stalemate. The Knights dominated the first 10 minutes, but then Reading went through an eight-minute stretch of controlling play.

With only about 15 seconds left in the first half, defensive standout and captain Kate Reading got the ball in a scramble following a penalty corner and shot the ball in the net for an abrupt 1-0 lead right before halftime. It was the senior's first career goal.

"It was a good time for it," said Reading with a smile. "I don't usually have a chance to score, but I knew there wasn't much time in the half so I went way up and it worked out."

Reading High, which showed excellent speed on its forward line, tied the game 12 minutes into the second half when Katherine Darveau tallied after a beautiful setup from star midfielder Jen Abrams. The goal was only the fifth scored against the Knights all year.

"We told the girls before the tournament that we would get scored on," said Freiermuth. "It's how you react after you get scored on that determines how well you do."

The Knights initially didn't react well. The Rockets kept up the pressure the next four minutes and goalie Alison McCarthy was forced to make a nifty stop on a breakaway two minutes later to keep the score at 1-1.

But North Andover gradually gained control and got the winning goal at the 19:26 mark when Courtney Lynch scored her seventh goal of the season after another penalty corner. The Knights enjoyed 12 penalty corners on the night compared to seven for Reading.

That goal seemed to energize the Knights for the next 10 minutes, but Reading put on a furious rush in the last six minutes of the game. Kathie Andrusin made a terrific stop on a hard shot following a penalty corner at the 5:16 mark and McCarthy made another tough save down the stretch. She had seven saves on the night.

"Kathie Andrusin was immense at the end and she showed why she was named (Cape Ann League) Player of the Year," said Freiermuth. "And Ali (McCarthy) showed what kind of goalie she is. Before tonight, she only had two shots in the tournament, but she showed how good she is when we needed her."

The victory was particularly satisfying because it came without any points from offensive machine Lauren Gaffny and hot-shot sophomore Candace Waldie, who have scored 32 and 16 goals respectively.

"They had Gaffny marked well and that's going to happen throughout the tournament," said Freiermuth. "Fortunately we have other girls who can score."

North Andover enters Saturday's championship game with 43-1-2 record over the last two years and it has outscored its opponents 90-5 this season.

"It doesn't matter who we play, but it'd be so cool to play Andover since they're our (local) rival," said Reading. "I remember when we beat them two years ago in the tournament. The game went to double overtime and then we won on strokes."

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