Junior Natalie Griffin steps into a shot midway through the first quarter of Monday's 4-0 victory for Walpole field hockey against Milton. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The 2020 Fall I season officially began for Walpole High School field hockey on Monday afternoon as the Porkers hosted Milton. Despite some significant rule changes that included no penalty corner attempts, masks on at all times and a switch from the normal 11-on-11 format to seven-on-seven, Walpole looked its normal dominant self.
Behind to a two-goal performance by junior Caroline Whelan, the Porkers cruised to a 4-0 season-opening win.
The new rules implemented for the 2020 season have also forced high school field hockey games to play four 15-minute quarters instead of two 30-minute halves. With 9:29 to play in the opening quarter, Whelan smacked home the rebound of a shot by Natalie Griffin to give the Porkers a 1-0 lead. A little under five minutes later, Whelan struck again. After forcing a turnover out in the alley, the junior corralled the ball and drove to the cage before slipping home a shot through the legs of Milton's goalie to double the lead to 2-0. The Porkers maintained their 2-0 lead at the end of one quarter.
Following a scoreless second quarter, Walpole took their two-goal edge into halftime. With 9:15 to play in the third quarter, senior Madison Field buried a rebound on a net-mouth scramble for her first tally of the season, extending Walpole's lead to 3-0. The Porkers carried their three-goal edge into the final quarter.
Just 27 seconds into the fourth, Natalie Griffin buried the dagger. Following a great crossing pass from Eylse Scales off the rush, Griffin one-timed home a worm-burner of a shot into the back of the net, giving the Porkers a commanding 4-0 lead.
Walpole was able to preserve the shutout and come away with the four-goal season-opening win.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.