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Newcomer Leads Tigers Past Royals

Newport — Coaches have to make a lot of decisions during an athletic contest. But it was a pregame decision that made the difference for Newport High’s field hockey team on Tuesday.

Just before facing Mascoma, Newport added freshman KK Kibbey to the varsity roster. Assistant coach Becky Merrow said Kibbey had seen maybe 10 minutes of varsity action this season.

She might see more playing time the rest of the fall, as her overtime goal was the difference in a 2-1 win for the Tigers.

The goal capped a game between two teams trying to get their season on track while dealing with youth and injuries.

Although Mascoma (1-5) was held without a shot on goal until deep into the second half, the Royals scored a clutch goal to tie the game, had another called back and applied the pressure first in overtime.

Despite Newport’s advantage in all offensive departments, it was a game the Royals could have won. After being out-shot 9-0 in the first half and held without a corner while Newport had four, Mascoma goalkeeper Jordan LaCroix and defenders Kialah Reeder, Jada Pequita and Haley Bissonnette didn’t let the Tigers in the door, no matter how many times they knocked.

In the second half Newport grabbed a 1-0 lead with 9:30 to play, when the hard-working Julia Sullivan, who just a few days ago assisted on Lindsy Desmarais’ overtime goal in a win over Monadnock, did the grunt work once again. After her shot was kicked out by LaCroix, the rebound went to Desmarais, who sent it back past LaCroix.

The Royals, however, were starting to emerge from their offensive cocoon. They thought they might had tied the game when Catie Kondi’s long blast from outside the circle bounced off something and into the goal. After the officials talked it over, they decided the deflection was caused by a Mascoma foot and the goal was disallowed.

Although there was just 2:56 to play in regulation, the call did not seem to disappoint the Royals, who tied the game with less than a minute to play when a Reeder corner went to Kondi, who fired a shot off Newport goalie Leah Peel’s pad. Reeder, however, was in the right spot and knocked the rebound in.

Newport coach Shannon Martin was not pleased with the way her team squandered scoring chances, but she also knew this was a game that could have gone the other way if not for sophomore defender Emalie Robertson. Newport let a couple of scoring chances get away in the first part of the overtime, then Mascoma went on the prowl, whacking and slapping at the ball. When Peele came out too far, the ball got behind her and was headed for the goal, but Robertson swooped in and cleared the ball away.

“She stepped in and played goalie,” Martin said of Roberston’s play.

Moments later Kibbey, after a very long rush by Sullivan, one-timed a loose ball and slammed it home for the victory.

Mascoma coach Amanda Valliere, who gave her team a Knute Rockne halftime talk, felt her team needed to be more vocal.

“We need to communicate,” Valliere said. “We need to help each other. We’re young (just three seniors) and have lots of injuries, so we have to move people around and we have to help ourselves by talking.

“I know we have young people and injuries, but every team has to deal with those things,” she added. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”

Newport will have a couple of days to try and figure that out as Franklin comes to town on Friday. Mascoma is at Newfound that same day.