The Porkers Face Acton-Boxborough today in Division I State Semi-Final

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A field hockey player controls the ball against a Norwood player (Photo / Max Simons).

Sophia Giovaniello

A field hockey player controls the ball against a Norwood player (Photo / Max Simons).
A field hockey player controls the ball against a defender (Photo / Max Simons).

After being eliminated from tournament in their first playoff game last year, the Porkers earned the number 2 seed in the Division 1 South this year after an impressive regular season where they went 15-1-2. The girls have won their past 4 games and are now headed to the Eastern Massachusetts Finals.  Today, Walpole will face the undefeated Acton-Boxboro at a neutral site in Canton for the Division I State Semi-Final (For live updates later today, follow @whsrebel_sports on Twitter).  

“We know how an early loss in tournament feels and I think that’s one of our key motivators this tournament season. We want to win it all,” said senior Captain Sarah Rockwood.

In the South Sectional Final on November 14, the Porkers faced off against Mansfield, the top seed in their bracket. They went down 1-0 early after dominating the early run of play. However, they continued to batter the Mansfield goalie with shots until sophomore Celia Walsh tipped in a deflection to lock the score at 1-1. With few opportunities coming late in the game, the score remained tied at the end of regulation.

Field hockey overtime is 7 vs 7, so each team took off four players from their lineups. During overtime, junior captain Melanie Weber ran the show in the center of the field. She stole the ball several times, and eventually one of her steals led to a breakaway that was tapped home by Walsh to seal a 2-1 victory.

“We knew our season was on the line in those minutes, so everyone knew they had to go all out in order to keep our season alive,” said Weber.

To get to the South Sectional Final, the Porkers took on the number 3 seed, Sandwich, at home in the South Sectional Semifinal. Walpole scored early in the first half off of a corner by a shot from Weber, tipped in on the left side post by Walsh. Walpole had many more shot attempts in the first half; however, the rest of the half remained scoreless. Walpole headed into halftime leading 1-0.

To start the second half, the Porkers scored early from a shot by Weber tipped in by Walsh again to make the score 2-0. After a long stretch of no goals, Sandwich got a corner towards the end of the game  around the the 6 minute mark where they capitalized making the score 2-1. The goal built up Sandwich’s momentum leading to a few more strong opportunities, but they were unable to score the equalizer, giving Walpole a 2-1 victory.

“That game was close which made it exciting. I’m glad the team managed to pull out the win because Sandwich was definitely a tough game,” Walsh said.

“Although the Sandwich game wasn’t perfect, we still got the win and that is all that is necessary to move onto the south final,” Rockwood said.

In the second round on November 8, Walpole defeated #23 seed Canton by a score of 3-1. The Porkers got the first goal of the game off of a corner from junior Megan Fisher at the 15 minute mark of the first half. Canton scored late in the first half off of a corner as well tying the game at 1-1 going into halftime.

Around the 18 minute mark of the second half, Tobin dribbled down the left side and put the ball in the bottom right corner of the net to make the score 2-1. Just 3 minutes later, Flynn scored off of a corner to seal the deal. The game ended 3-1 after the Porkers shut down the Canton offense in the second half.

In their first playoff game on November 6, Walpole dominated Barnstable, the number 15 seed, at Walpole High School. The Porkers came out on top with a final score of 7-0. Starting off strong, they scored 2 goals in 5 minutes from Walsh, both assisted by junior Sophia Giovaniello. Following Walsh’s two goals came one from senior captain Nicole Tobin ending the half at 4-0 with the fourth goal being scored by Walsh again, earning her a hat trick.  The girls began the second half with a quick goal from Weber off of a direct hit from a corner. Later in the half, a shot from Weber was tipped in by junior Emma Flynn to make the score 6-0. The final goal of the game came from sophomore Saylor Murphy who tipped in a shot by senior Ellie Hilty, ending the game at 7-0 with a complete defensive shut out.

 

Two years ago, when the Porkers won the state championship, they beat A-B in a controversial game where alumna Brooke Matherson scored a controversial goal off of a corner.  Winner of the Division One North Sectional, A-B will be the biggest test for the Porkers thus far.