By Ayoub Kourikchi, Globe Correspondent>
The 15th-seeded Reading field hockey team squeezed into the first round of the Division 1 North State Tournament after a 1-0 overtime performance against 18th-seeded Needham on Thursday.
Needham set up Reading’s lone goal of the night with a corner play after committing a stick interference penalty. Following the penalty, senior left midfielder Maddie Davis inserted the ball to junior center midfielder Sarah Hart. Hart passed the ball to sophomore forward Rachel Thompson, who fired the goal from the striking circle.
“That overtime period was a case of being all out. The girls couldn’t say I am a defender and I am a forward, they had to say I am a two way hockey player and all six field players knew that the game was in their hands,” said coach Mim Jarema.
The first two halves were a different story, as Needham had Reading on its heels with an aggressive offensive attack.
“Throughout regulation we were trying to get our kids playing up to speed and for whatever reason we came out flat,” said Jarema. “Needham came out very, very strong and they were aggressive and they were quick. We were just in first gear and couldn’t change the pace.”
Junior goalie Kayla Raneri carried Reading with 13 saves, nine coming in the second half. She also denied three breakaway goals.
“Kayla was outstanding. She has been playing great ball the past three weeks of the season. She is the first year starting goalie as a junior and she is really coming into her role,” said Jarema.
Reading travels to second-seeded Masconomet, who had a preliminarly round bye, on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for its first round match.
“We are a young team. We have two sophomores for each senior on the team. We got over our first day jitters today and we will make the adjustments to grass tomorrow and go after it,” said Jerema. “I hope on Saturday we come out fast and pick up the tempo.”
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