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Captains Team Up to Lift Tigers Past Huskies

Newport — Julia Sullivan and Lindsy Desmarais, two of the Newport field hockey captains, teamed up for an overtime goal to give Newport a 2-1 win over Monadnock Tuesday at Bates Field. And there’s more to these two girls than the ability to get clutch goals.

Both girls are in the top 10 academically and both, along with teammate Hannah Merrow, another top 10 student, attended St. Paul’s school this summer. And while both Sullivan and Desmarais were delighted with the win, they are smart enough to know the team needs to improve if they want to reach the goal of a state championship t.

“We need to dribble better,” Sullivan, who had 23 points last year (14 goals, nine assists), said after the game. She has four goals and two assists this season.

“We’re just not dribbling well enough.”

The winning goal, scored by Desmarais, came with about four minutes left in the 15-minute 7-on-7 overtime.

There were two defensive plays that kept the score tied, and both plays denied Monadnock’s Jenna Johnson a chance to send the Huskies home with a win. Near the midway point of overtime, Johnson beat the Newport defense past the midfield line. As she tried to make her way in to challenge Newport keeper Leah Peel, but Tiger Nikki Gardner came from behind and stole the ball, sending it away from danger. Shortly after that, Johnson once again cleared past the midfield mark this time with no one in hot pursuit. Peel, sensing the trouble she was in if she stayed in goal, charged out of the net a long way and won the challenge.

“That was a great move for our keeper to come out,” Newport coach Shannon Martin said.

The winning goal might not have been a thing of beauty, but it did the job. Sullivan, who did not get an assist on the play, did the grunt work. She moved from the inside of the circle and let go what she called “a sweeping shot” that went into the pads of Monadnock keeper Kaylee Goodell. The rebound, off the pads, went to Desmarais, who fanned on the first attempt, then, with the back side of her stick, lifted it into the goal for the victory.

“It was a reverse flick,” said Desmarais, who added the shot went past the left side of the keeper and into the cage.

The win came against a team on a hot streak as Monadnock, after losing its season opener to Stevens, had won three straight, outscoring the opposition 10-0 in those wins. Meanwhile, Newport started the season with two losses in its first three games before Tuesday’s win.

But this was the type of field hockey that Martin, who does not like overtime games, has been waiting for.

“When we click like we did today it’s beautiful thing,“ she said. “I think we dominated. We were pressuring all game and even hit a post.”

While the Tigers may have been dominating, they were not scoring. It looked like all the control they had was going for naught, until there were 90 seconds left in the first half. A long Sullivan cross made its way to the side of the goal, where Gardner one-timed the ball in.

The one-goal lead lasted until there was 15:03 to play in the second half, when Bre Finnell got one past Peel to tie the game.

There were chances at both ends before overtime, as Monadnock’s Maddie Ellnor, displaying powerful midfield play, kept the pressure on. The best chance before the extra session belonged to Newport’s Christy Merritt, who had the ball at her feet in front of the cage, but couldn’t get it by the Monadnock goalie.

Newport visits Newfound Friday.