Had Elizabeth Crowley not made some key saves, things cold have gotten bad for the Medfield Warriors early in the game.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Friday afternoon, the Westwood Wolverines field hockey team beat the Medfield Warriors 4-1. The win moved the Wolverines to 3-0 on the year, while the Warriors remained winless at 0-3-1. But the game was closer than the score line indicated, and provided both Westwood with some things to work on and Medfield with some signs that their hard work has been paying off.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, although Westwood was clearly in control of the game. Credit goes to Medfield goalie Elizabeth Crowley for a few stops to keep the game scoreless, but faced with relentless pressure, the Medfield defense couldn’t hold up in the second quarter.
Between eleven and six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Westwood rattled off three goals from Lindsey Diomede, Lexi Bean, and Julia Custwan (whose goal was her first as a varsity player), which placed the game firmly in their grip. Kendall Blomquist added another for Westwood in the third, before, down 4-0, Medfield found their groove in the fourth.
Suddenly it was Medfield that was providing constant pressure, including a goal from Natalie Hagood with six minutes left in the game. Medfield kept up the pressure, but couldn’t find another goal as the game ended at 4-1.
“Our goal is progress, not perfection,” Medfield coach Allison Driscoll noted after the game. “I’m proud of the girls, that the second half my goal was to not quit and to see what we could do better in the second thirty minutes that we didn’t in the first thirty minutes. I think by the end of the game they had fixed some things. It was just a shame we didn’t have that happening at the beginning.”
When asked about the rapid succession of goals that ultimately did her team in after holding Westwood scoreless in the first and much of the second, Coach Driscoll pointed out a new rule in field hockey that removes timeouts from the game. This is not COVID-related, it’s how they play in college - but for a team struggling to stop the bleeding of a sudden onslaught, it makes the game tougher.
“With the new fifteen minute quarters and not timeouts, it’s really hard, because when you have a team like Westwood who's building momentum like that … you can’t bring your team in and try to pull things together.”
Still, Coach Driscoll found some good play to point to, especially during the later stages of the game. She noted noting that “Anna Gelormini played amazing defense. Gabbie Curl played amazing defense, and I think in the end our mids really started pulling it together and putting together some nice passing sequences to create some offensive flow in that last fifteen minutes.”
For Westwood Coach Heather Joyce, the timeout rule came into effect because she couldn’t stop the game and calm down her team. She felt this jumpiness led to the first quarter struggles, and believed the second quarter scoring explosion was just because the team settled down.
“I think the team just needed to settle a little bit. They’d put a bunch of pressure on themselves and got really worked up, then once we were able to take the quarter, to take a breath and kind of get out of their head a little bit, things started pulling together. We don’t get timeouts this year. I wonder if that would’ve helped, but I think it was just taking that break to settle.”
Moving to 3-0, Joyce saw a lot of things that worked well, but was most impressed by her team’s effort and attitude at a time when they very easily could have gotten frustrated and turned on each other.
“I was really proud of the whole team effort - that was really nice to see, and I thought he team stayed really positive the entire time. I’ve never seen them get like down on each other or frustrated with each other, so even if there was a frustrating scenario, they stayed positive, shook it off and stayed mentally in it, so I was really proud about that.”
Still, despite being undefeated, Coach Joyce stressed that the team still has things they need to clean up, and hopes they get better each game rather than settle with their current level of play.
“I think we want to get better and better every game. There are still a lot of kinks we’re working out and we’re trying to figure out what our flow is going to be. So, I think every game we get a little bit more comfortable with each other and with the flow of the game. So, I’m just hoping that we continue to improve instead of plateauing. That’s the goal.”