The West Hartford teams entered the game knowing that the winner would earn the CCC North Division title.
By David Heuschkel, West Hartford Press Sports Editor. Photos by Hunter Marotto
For the second year in a row, the Hall High field hockey team won 15 matches in the regular season. Of its victories this fall, the last one may have been the most difficult.
Beating cross-town West Hartford rival Conard is never easy, and Wednesday night was further proof. It took a late rally by the Warriors to defeat the Chieftains.
Hall senior Allie Crawford scored the tying goal in the closing minutes of regulation and then set up Bridget McGann’s game winner midway through the 10-minute overtime to give the Warriors a 2-1 victory over the Chieftains at McKee Stadium.
Hall (15-1 overall) clinched the CCC North championship, going 7-0 in conference matches. The Warriors shared the conference title with Enfield last fall.
“To have it for ourselves when we tied last year is huge for this team,” Hall coach Catherine Hanks said.
Hall would have shared the title with Conard (9-3-3-1 overall, 5-1-0-1 in the CCC North) if the Chieftains held on to beat the Warriors.
“I think we played fantastic,” Conard coach Carlie Dailey said. “We played together, we played with heart. We played with phenomenal skill. It was just a really fun game to be a part of and watch them play.”
Sophomore Mia Burns – assisted by senior Libby Geisler – scored with 15:02 remaining in regulation to give the Chieftains a 1-0 lead, slipping a shot past goalie Ava True (seven saves). But with less than 4 minutes remaining, Hall tied off a penalty corner when Crawford scored on a blast from just inside the circle.
In the 10-minute sudden victory OT period, the teams played seven vs. seven. Hall failed to convert on the only penalty corner by either team. Less than a minute later, Crawford sent a cross from well outside the box to McGann, who gathered the ball and beat goalie Ellie Parker (10 saves) with 5:24 left to win it.
“We needed to regroup and we needed to play as a team and just kind of settle ourselves,” Hanks said. “We were playing more defensive minded and we just needed to play offensive minded.”
The CIAC will announce the state tournament seeds and pairings Friday. A year ago, Hall went undefeated in the regular season (15-0-1) and lost to Darien 4-0 in the state tournament quarterfinals.
“The girls that are back here wanted to continue what we started last year, and wanted to keep that energy up and not letting things in the way,” Hanks said. “We lost [7-3] to Newtown in our second game of the season and I think we needed that loss to kind of reset ourselves. We said, ‘Listen, we’ve got to play some good hockey and figure things out’ because I had a whole new defensive line. My defensive line stepped up, my middies stepped up. Every single person on this team regardless of their role played a huge impact this year.”
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