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Class L field hockey semifinals Nighthawks fall in OT

November 14, 2018

WATERTOWN — With the way regulation ended between the Cheshire and Newtown field hockey teams in their Class L semifinal, any penalty corner during overtime could have been the moment that decided the contest.

The Rams — and junior Kiley Jackson — weren’t about to let the first opportunity slip away with a championship game in sight.

Jackson’s tip in front of the cage with 3:53 left in the first overtime period was the difference, sending No. 1 Cheshire to the Class L final for a fourth time in eight seasons. The Rams topped No. 5 Newtown, 3-2, in a wild finish that included two goals in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

Cheshire will face Staples on Saturday at Wethersfield High School for the championship.

Jackson deflected a shot from Anne Eddy off a penalty corner during the 7-on-7 overtime period. Eddy scored from nearly the exact same angle to give Cheshire a 2-1 lead with 34.8 seconds left in regulation.

“(Teammate) Mikayla Crowley told me to be on the goalie and guard her a little,” Jackson said. “Anne shot it to the right side of the post and I was just there with my stick down to tip it in a little. It felt amazing. This was my first time ever playing overtime and to just be able to score that goal was the best feeling ever.”

Newtown wasn’t about to go away, though, and the Rams went from delirium to despair. Freshman Reagan Schoen deflected a shot from Ali Kelleher across the line with the clock at zeros following a penalty corner. The Nighthawks kept the No. 1 Rams off balance with an aggressive style for most of the night, coach Eileen Wildermann said.

“I’m most impressed with how this team finds each other and plays together,” Nighthawks coach Stephanie Kearns said. “Usually you see a team come out and have one all-star on the team and I don’t think that was the case.”

The teams traded first half goals — Cheshire’s came 1:18 into the game from Meaghan Hogan while Newtown responded midway through the half when Izzy Butler scored — and quality chances throughout the 60-plus minutes.

WRECKERS NEXT

Cheshire has been ousted by an FCIAC opponent — including Staples last year — for many of the past six years since winning its last state title in 2011. Both Cheshire and Staples posted undefeated regular seasons but fell in their respective conference finals.

“At first we didn’t know what a loss felt like,” Jackson said. “That loss helped us in a sense but put us down. Coming into states we had to be hungry and want it.”

WILD RIDE

Newtown claimed a 3-2 upset win over Enfield in the quarterfinals on Friday to make it to Watertown High for the semis. The Nighthawks got past the first round for the first time since advancing all the way to the final in 2007.

“We had five captains this year and they were all phenomenal,” Kearns said. “All seven of our seniors have really contributed; it’s always tough losing seniors. … It was a beautiful run in states.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Anne Eddy, Cheshire: Two late swings with her stick helped send the Rams to their first state final since 2015.

QUOTABLE

“We just have to prepare and play a completely different game than we’re used to,” Wildermann said of the final. “I’ve seen Staples play this year and they play like a college team; they play year-round together with the same club. We have athletes; we have to play a grittier game.”

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11

CHESHIRE 3, NEWTOWN 2 (OT)

NEWTOWN1 1 0 — 2

CHESHIRE1 1 1 — 3

Goals: N—Izzy Butler, Reagen Schoen; C—Meaghan Hogan, Anne Eddy, Kiley Jackson. Assists: N—Ali Kelleher; C—Eddy. Goalies: N—Rebecca Filiato (5 saves); C—Alexis Hemstock (5 saves). Records: Newtown 15-2-0-1, Cheshire 19-0-0-0.

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