Walpole Porkers Fight for a Spot in Division 1 State Championship

Lynne Carty

Shelby Guisti makes a defensive tackle against Mansfield opponent
Senior Shelby Guisti makes a defensive tackle against Mansfield opponent.

Walpole is always a team to watch during tournament time and, as they have proved thus far in the tourney, this year is no exception. After an 8-2 victory over Mansfield followed by a 4-0 shut out against Hopkinton for the South Sectional title, the Porkers have shown their thirst for the state championship title. The last and biggest obstacle for the Porkers is still yet to come on Wednesday, November 18 when they face their toughest opponent yet: Acton-Boxboro.

While most high school students were resting at home this past Veteran’s Day, members of the Walpole and Mansfield field hockey teams were out on the field, battling for a chance to continue in their quest for the Division I State Championship title. The Mansfield game was arguably one of the Porker’s strongest this year, which was reflected on the scoreboard as they dominated the Hornets with a score of 8-2.

Determined to score early and often, the Porkers gave Mansfield a preview as to what the game would be like when senior Stephanie Frye put away a quick goal less than five minutes into the half. With impressive stick skills and decisions on the field, Walpole maintained control of the ball for the majority of the game, though the Mansfield Hornets held possession for a solid portion of the first half. Individually, all of the players did well, especially senior Shelby Guisti who had one of her strongest games thus far in the season and, with quick free hits and impressive tackles, scored a goal with 12 minutes left to bring up the score to 2-0. Senior Liz Malone scored the last Porker goal of the half with about six minutes left and the Hornets put one in with five minutes left, making the halftime score 3-1.

In the second half, the Porkers continued to dominate the game. Junior Caroline Malone scored Walpole’s first goal seven minutes into the half and, after Mansfield responded by scoring what would be their last goal of the game, Malone put in two more to earn herself a hat trick. Sophomore Meghan Murphy also added another point to the scoreboard with four minutes left, bringing up the score to 7-2. Even though they were up by multiple goals, the Porkers refused to let up; they maintained pressure on the ball and Liz Malone managed to score yet another goal with only 11 seconds left, ending the game at 8-2 and earning the chance to play Hopkinton in the South Sectional Championship.

Heading into South Sectionals, the Porkers knew it would not be an easy win. Both teams had the same, undefeated record and had overcome virtually every team in their leagues. At the end of the first half, it seemed as though the teams were evenly matched as neither Hopkinton nor Walpole let up any goals. During the second half, however, Walpole proved to be the dominant team. The Porkers began to take full advantage of their corners, which led to their first goal off a corner by senior Jen Walsh. Frye also capitalized on one of Walpole’s corners minutes later to bring the score up 2-0. To secure the win, Walsh and Frye both scored again for a total of four goals for Walpole.

Next up, the Porkers will face off against long time rivals Acton-Boxboro, who are coming off a win against Weston, in hopes of earning the title as Eastern Mass Champions on Wednesday, November 18 in Canton. The game is expected to be a heated battle as both Acton-Boxboro and Walpole have the first seed in their respective leagues, and as both teams are desperate to make it to the next and final game in hopes of becoming the 2009 Division I State Champions.