Lily Schmalz (pictured) receives a pass and moves the ball up along the near sideline. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Needham High School varsity field hockey hosted Milton on Monday afternoon at DeFazio Field looking to rebound following a 2-0 defeat to the state's top-ranked team, Walpole, last Monday.
Just 4:02 in, Needham received a penalty corner opportunity after Milton committed a foul at their net-mouth. Needham's Maeve Hymovitz received a feed from Emma Ferrara and fired a shot on net that was turned aside by Milton's goalkeeper. A plethora of Rockets crashed the net for the rebound as Lily Schmalz, Olivia Alper and Ferrara battled it out for the loose ball. Alper took control of the rebound and put home a shot just inside the far-right post to give Needham a 1-0 lead.
Following the goal by Alper, Needham completely shut down their end of the field. Milton was unable to generate a single shot on goal throughout the remainder of the game. Still leading 1-0 late, Needham began holding the ball and chewing clock with Milton unable to penetrate the Rocket defensive backfield.
The conservative approach paid off - despite being held to just a single goal, the defensive dominance allowed the Rockets to prevail by a 1-0 final.
Needham will look to continue its winning ways when the Rockets play host to Newton North and Cohasset on September 22 and 24.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.