Caroline Whelan (pictured) moves the ball up field during her two-goal performance against Needham on Monday afternoon. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
With expectations high, Walpole High School varsity field hockey passed its first major test on Monday afternoon with a 2-0 victory against rival and always dangerous Needham.
Senior captain Caroline Whelan scored 1:12 into the game, firing home a rebound off of a fast break to give the Porkers a 1-0 lead. Stellar goaltending by Needham's Sydney Baker throughout the remainder of the first half kept the game 1-0 at halftime.
Following halftime Needham began getting more offensive pressure, thanks to several loose ball battle wins by Maeve Hymovitz, as well as a pair of solo clears by sophomore Lily Schmalz.
Despite the uptick in tempo by Needham, it was Walpole who delivered the next blow. With 10:21 to play in the third quarter, Whelan cut to the net and took a feed from senior Lauren Wong on the right wing and deposited home a shot just inside the far left post to double Walpole's lead to 2-0.
The second goal by Whelan turned out to be the back-breaker as Walpole locked down the center of the field and prevented the Rockets from any major offensive surge. The Porkers preserved the shutout in goal for Madison Clark and prevailed by the 2-0 final.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.