Hall defeats Conard in a rematch of the regular season finale to advance to the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
By Marlon Pitter, Photos by Ronni Newton
Freshman Bridget McGann powered Hall field hockey to a 2-0 victory over Conard and kept the team’s undefeated season alive in the first round of the CIAC Class L Tournament Wednesday night in West Hartford.
Olivia Birbara struck first with 6:54 remaining in the first half to put Hall up 1-0. McGann assisted on the tally.
The Warriors withstood pressure from the Chieftains, and McGann scored with 8:37 to play in the second half to effectively seal the deal.
“She is a hockey player, which I think helps with field hockey,” Hall head coach Cat Hanks said of McGann. “They translate super-well. Maeve [Stone], a sophomore, is also a hockey player, so the two of them work really well together. But I think it’s just that natural instinct of knowing how to dribble like it’s on ice, and she just knows where to be off-ball.”
The Warriors put pressure on the Chieftains in spurts throughout the game, tallying 19 shots on the night to Conard’s four.
“I think when we played them before, we were playing not to lose because it was the last game of the season [and] determined if we were going to share a championship with Enfield or not, and tonight it was kind of a clean slate where we were playing to win,” said Hanks. “Playing to move on. Zero pressure. Just play some hockey, have some fun.”
Conard goalies Emily McDill and Ellie Parker combined for nine saves. Anna Bobruff made six saves on the night for Hall and eclipsed the 100-save mark on the season.
Hall defeated Conard 2-1 in the regular season finale on Oct. 30. After defeating McMahon in the qualifying round Monday, the Chieftains looked forward to a rematch with the Warriors.
“We were really, really excited. We wanted to see them again for sure,” said Conard head coach Carlie Dailey. “Even before the bracket came out, we were rooting for Hall to be where they are so we that we could see them again.”
Hall improves to 16-0-1 on the season looking to keep its momentum going in the quarterfinal round against Darien (14-2-1), while Conard finishes the year 10-7. The Warriors will host the Blue Wave either Friday or Saturday.
“I think anything is possible with this team,” said Hanks. “They’ve got the grit; they really do. They fight through the tough times. I try to force them to play through the hard times before I call a timeout before I try to let them work it out themselves, so no matter who we face, I think that they’re going to give them a run for their money this year.”
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