Golden Warriors repeat
WORCESTER - The Andover field hockey team has done it again.
Sophomore Julia LeBlanc redirected a pass from Meagan Keefe in the second half as the Golden Warriors (22-0-2) defeated Longmeadow, 1-0, yesterday at Worcester State to win their second consecutive state title.
“All the girls helped bring it up and I just happened to tip it in,’’ said LeBlanc. “It was all of our work to make it happen. It was all of our efforts.’’
Andover dominated the first half, shooting 15 times and drawing 10 penalty corners, but a spectacular defensive performance by Longmeadow goalie Elizabeth Suschana (18 saves) stopped Andover.
“Their defense was very good getting low in front of the net. It was difficult,’’ said Keefe, Andover’s leading scorer.
Longmeadow (18-2-2) only allowed 11 goals this season.
“Our defense has been our strong point,’’ said Longmeadow coach Ann Simons. “We won’t score a lot of goals. We do rely on our defense to push our offense up.’’
Longmeadow threatened early in the first half, but strong defensive efforts led by Taylor Farris and Bridget Morris kept their shots limited to three.
“Our defense was great at stepping up and stopping the girls,’’ said Keefe. “Without them, we couldn’t do our jobs.’’
Andover came out hungry in the second half, spending most time in the scoring circle. Coach Maureen Noone called a timeout 10 minutes in so she could focus her team after several failed corner attempts.
“We needed to open it up. They were packing it in, making it hard to get a nice play to happen,’’ said Noone. “After the timeout, they realized they had to play with more urgency and step up.’’
Andover managed 12 corners in the half, but were denied scoring opportunities by an aggressive Lancers defense.
“They were dominating with corners. I could tell we were getting tired,’’ said Simons.
LeBlanc finally scored with 14:58 to play.
This is the second time in three years Longmeadow made it to the final. The Lancers lost to Acton-Boxboro, 3-0, in 2009.
Keefe said that defeating powerhouse Acton-Boxboro, 1-0, in the tournament was a confidence-booster.
“The Acton-Boxboro game was a big test to our team,’’ she said. “We realized we wanted to do it again and how much fun it was last year. We knew we had the desire and the drive.’’