Hornets Pull Away From Canes

  • Hartford's Erin Murphy reacts on the bench while watching Essex High School score their second goal during the Vermont Division I girls field hockey championship at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., on Nov 2, 2013. Essex won, 3-0. <br/>(Valley News- Sarah Priestap)

    Hartford's Erin Murphy reacts on the bench while watching Essex High School score their second goal during the Vermont Division I girls field hockey championship at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., on Nov 2, 2013. Essex won, 3-0.
    (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Essex High School's Cristina Tellez reaches between Hartford's Esme Cole's feet to grab the ball during the Vermont Division I girls field hockey championships at the University of Vermont. Essex won, 3-0. <br/>(Valley News- Sarah Priestap)

    Essex High School's Cristina Tellez reaches between Hartford's Esme Cole's feet to grab the ball during the Vermont Division I girls field hockey championships at the University of Vermont. Essex won, 3-0.
    (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hartford's Erin Murphy reacts on the bench while watching Essex High School score their second goal during the Vermont Division I girls field hockey championship at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., on Nov 2, 2013. Essex won, 3-0. <br/>(Valley News- Sarah Priestap)
  • Essex High School's Cristina Tellez reaches between Hartford's Esme Cole's feet to grab the ball during the Vermont Division I girls field hockey championships at the University of Vermont. Essex won, 3-0. <br/>(Valley News- Sarah Priestap)

Burlington —Hartford High’s hope of bringing home an 11th state field hockey championship stayed alive until midway through the second half of Saturday’s Vermont Division I title match against Essex. But the No. 2 Hurricanes could not hold off the top-seeded Hornet juggernaut forever.

Following the lead of explosive junior midfielder Kathleen Young, Essex broke loose in the final 15 minutes to forge a 3-0 victory at the University of Vermont’s Moulton Winder Field. It was the top-seeded Hornets’ first championship since they defeated Hartford 3-1 in 2001.

Young, who scored three times in Essex’ 7-0 semifinal win over Middlebury, connected twice against the Hurricanes and assisted on the third goal. The Hornets earned five of their seven penalty corners in the second half, and only superlative work in goal by Rachel Loesby (seven saves) kept the final margin from climbing even higher.

“They’re a phenomenal team that has been rolling over everybody all season,” Hartford coach Heather Scudder said of Essex (13-1-3). “Young is an outstanding player, but she’s not the only one they have.”

Scudder knew the Hurricanes (12-5) were in a tough position. The Hornets had produced 12 shutouts and allowed only five goals all season. But Hartford had been resilient, taking one-goal victories in the playoff quarterfinals and semifinals.

And when a long Hurricane shot caromed past Essex goaltender Madison Corkum into the net midway through the first half, an upset suddenly seemed possible.

But the goal was waved off because the shot originated outside the striking circle and deflected off a Hornet defender, rather than a Hartford player. That was as close the Hurricanes came offensively. They ended without any penalty corners or shots on goal.

“We had a strategy and it worked for a long time,” Scudder said. “But they had two fabulous goals and if it hadn’t been for our goalie it could have been 6-0, and that would have been kind.”

Young scored her first goal with 14:58 remaining by sticking a shot inside the left side in the continuation of play after a penalty corner.

She added another six minutes later with a laser into the upper left corner after being set up off a penalty corner from Briege Mahoney. Alexandria Celia posted the final goal off a feed from Young with 5:38 remaining.

“We know the level we play at and we weren’t quite there in the first half,” Young said.

“We work on our corners all year and it’s really a team effort when they’re successful.”

Loesby is a freshman and Hartford carried seven sophomores on this year’s roster. Only five of the starting 11 were seniors.

“(Young) put the team on her back,” said Hurricane senior co-captain Allison Courtemanche. “They built some momentum in the second half and things just came crashing down.

“But everyone thought this was going to be a rebuilding year for us. No one expected us to bet this far and look where we ended.”