Three minutes into overtime of the first round of the State Tournament, the fate of field hockey, 10-4-1, rested in the hands of freshman Rachel Hamilton as she sprinted past Peabody in a breakaway.
Leaving the Tanner defenders in the dust, Hamilton took a wrist shot, which landed the ball in the right corner of the net and gave the Tigers a 2-1 victory. “I didn’t even think it was going to go in, so it felt great when it did,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton’s overtime breakaway seemed reminiscent of her team’s momentum in the first half, in which the team was aggressive compared with the hesitant Tanners. The Tigers charged up the field each time they gained possession and earned many corners, which gave them many opportunities to score.
With six minutes remaining in the first half, the Tigers swarmed Peabody’s goal. After each shot that bounced off the pads of the goalie, a Tiger picked up the rebound and shot again.
After a few consecutive shots, senior Ashley Smith finally squeaked one by the goalie to give the Tigers the lead.
During the second half, though, the momentum shifted dramatically. Peabody took control of its offense and, in effect, the Tigers.
According to coach Lauren Baugher the team “was getting a little anxious.”
After many failed opportunities, a Peabody shot went in with seven minutes remaining in regulation. The Tanners’ celebratory hugs, which followed the goal, may have been slightly premature, as just 10 field hockey minutes later, Hamilton scored.
Senior Bridget Gillis, a captain with junior Lizzie Reid, was glad the team achieved the victory she felt it deserved. “I’m so happy,” she said a few minutes after the game-winning shot. “Peabody’s goal was a bit of a fluke, and never should have gone in, so getting that second goal was good,” she said.
Baugher said, “They did an incredible job out there.
“Today was a result of us working hard when we come to practice and learning to change certain parts of how we play,” she said on how ball handling and passing has improved throughout the season.
In the Quarterfinals Monday, the team will face the winner of tomorrow’s match between Masconomet and Reading.