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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Coming off a thrilling 1-0 victory against Sandwich in the Division II South finals, the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School field hockey team capped off their 2019 season with a state title on Saturday at WPI.
Following a 2-1 victory against North sectional champ Lynnfield in the state semifinals on Thursday at Braintree High School, the Raiders earned a decisive 4-1 win against central champ Hopedale in the state final.
In the state finals, DS found themselves down 1-0 early when Zoe Athansopoulos fired home a shot on a penalty corner that found its way through an outstretched Sabrina Ryan just 2:17 in.
With 18:28 remaining, Izzy Friedel knotted the game at one for DS after dashing in off of a feed from Payton Ahola and depositing home a shot down low. Ahola recorded her second point of the contest just over a minute later, winning the battle for a loose ball in the box and firing home a shot at the net-mouth to give the Raiders a 2-1 edge with 17:15 to play.
Ahola gave her team some insurance with her second tally and third point of the half with 6:59 remaining, banging home a rebound to give DS a 3-1 lead at halftime.
The game would remain 3-1 in favor of DS until 9:51 to play, when Emma Goodness stung home the clincher on a penalty corner, putting the Raiders up 4-1 and sealing the Division II state title.
“This was a special group,” said head coach Dara Johnson following the win. “Every day we showed up to work and competed as a family. Everybody contributed from top to bottom. I’m so proud of these athletes for all the hard work they put in.”
The title is DS’s first in field hockey since 1974.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.