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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Thursday afternoon, just before the rain came, the Needham Rockets field hockey team shut out Wellesley, 3-0. The victory moved the Rockets, who were playing on their new turf field, to 6-1-1. The Raiders, meanwhile, dropped to 5-4.
Needham’s Grace Kelley lifted the ball past the goalie ten minutes into the first half to get the scoring started for The Rockets. That would be the only goal of the half, despite the fact that Needham seemed to be dominating possession and had the ball in Wellesley’s end for a significant amount of time. Tons of credit needs to be given to Wellesley’s goalie, Ella Fahey, and defender Riley Boyle for coming up big a number of times to keep the game in check.
Unfortunately for Wellesley, the Rockets’ pressure eventually got to them. In the second half, nine minutes in, Grace Kelley scored her second goal. About five minutes after that, Ashley Marshall scored, assisted by Kelley.
For Needham, as good as their record has been, they’ve struggled with irregular practices and not having a true home field due to the turf being redone. Now, their home field is ready - something coach Stephanie Magni noted is helping the team.
“Overall, it was a good game,” said Coach Magni. “We had a lot of pressure on their net. We didn’t give up any defensive corners, which was a goal of ours all season, so that was great. Definitely being able to practice on the home field helps; we’ve actually only practiced here, like, three times, I think … it’s a fresh new turf, so it’s a little slower than we’re used to, but I think we’re making the best of it. It’s good to have our home field back and have consistency with practice times and all that stuff.”
As for the Raiders, their captains, Caroline Sacher, Katie Why and Maryanna Weycker, saw the loss as largely being a result of losing their intensity and energy over the course of the second half.
“We had a lot of intensity coming into the game and through the half,” they explained, “but as the second half progressed, I think we kind of lost some of our energy and had a few breakaways … I think our forwards and mids kind of lost energy running back. We tried to do the best we could, but unfortunately not a win.”
Still, they saw some good things in the game, particularly in the play of their young goalie.
“One of the positives was definitely our goalie, sophomore Ella Fahey. She had an amazing game today, had some amazing saves. I think this was her best game overall - she really put in all her effort.”
Moving ahead, the girls see teamwork as the key to getting back to their winning ways. “We just need to keep up our intensity, keep playing together,” they said. “We played as a team today, which was good, and when we work together and play together as one, we can achieve so much.”