PA Stickers Escape With 2-1 Edging Of Exeter In Quarters

A couple of bounces or rolls could have made all the difference between a continuing hunt for a Division I championship and an early and unexpected departure from the D-I tournament for the Pinkerton Academy field hockey team last weekend.

But as things worked out for coach Jen Resmini and her top-seeded Lady Astros, the hunt for the top of the divisional mountain continued on, thanks to a harrowing, 2-1 nipping of the upset-minded, eighth-ranked Exeter High Lady Blue Hawks in quarterfinal-round tourney play in Derry last Saturday, Oct. 25.

Exeter defeated the Lady Astros by a 2-1 tally in the 2013 D-I title match, but this fall the Lady Blue Hawks will watch the remainder of the tourney from the sidelines while PA continues on.

And that’s true because after tallying a 2-0 lead in the first half of last weekend’s quarterfinal match, Pinkerton allowed the Lady Hawks one goal in the first seven minutes of the second half but then held on tight for the 2-1 win despite a heavy-duty onslaught in the PA defensive end throughout the vast majority of that second half.

Oddly enough, the regular season meeting between the Pinkerton and Exeter teams had gone similarly, with the Lady Astros running out to a 2-0 halftime lead but then surviving the Lady Blue Hawks’ comeback attempts to bag a 3-2 win in the final regular season match.

“The (game) away was the same way. They turned on the jets after we got a 2-0 lead. It’s not always pretty but it’s effective,” said Resmini.

The tourney win was the squad’s 14th straight victory of 2014. The locals started the campaign with a loss to the Merrimack High Lady Tomahawks but have gone undefeated since.

The hosts snared a 1-0 lead just 6:26 into the quarterfinal match when Gabby Guerard was set up for a successful, point-blank shot in the slot in front of the Exeter net by teammate Kaylie DeCosmo.

And the Pinkerton lead grew to 2-0 a little more than seven minutes later when Samantha Day hammered home a rebound from close range. Haley Harrington notched the assist.

Exeter had the ball in the Pinkerton defensive zone quite a bit during the first half and also received six penalty corners, but no goal was forthcoming until the second half.

With its season – and any chance to repeat as D-I champs – on the line, the Lady Hawks played like a desperate squad in the second half.

They trimmed their deficit in half with a goal off a penalty corner with a little less than seven minutes gone in the second period, and then went right back to work hunting for the tying marker.

That vital goal never came, but Exeter finished the half with an 8-1 advantage in shots on net and six more penalty corners during the latter 30 minutes of action. And the Lady Astros were left mopping their brows and thankful to have the hard-fought victory.

PA goalie Jordan Dudley finished with nine big saves to her credit, and she and her teammates found out that they would meet up with the fourth-seeded Keene High Lady Blackbirds in semifinal-round tourney play at Exeter High on Wednesday, Oct. 29, after Nutfield News press time.

The Keene crew advanced to the semis by ending the fifth-seeded Londonderry Lady Lancers’ campaign with a 4-1 defeat in Keene on Saturday.