Motivated Marauders Roll in Season Opener

  • Hanover's Maranda Galbraith.

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Hanover — Jean Essex and the Hanover High field hockey team has had plenty of time to think about last year’s heartbreaking loss in the NHIAA Division II championship game.

Luckily, the team’s offense seems to have picked up right where it left off last fall.

The Marauders sent a whopping 30 shots on goal in their 6-0 season-opening victory over John Stark at Merriman-Branch Field on Tuesday, flexing an offensive muscle that powered them to their first D-II final appearance since 2009 one year earlier.

Six players found the net for Hanover, and junior goaltender Ella Edmonds made two stops in the shutout.

“Without a doubt (there’s extra motivation this season),” Essex said. “It’s a little to early to tell, it’s a marathon not a sprint. But I think in terms of motivation they were disappointed and frustrated at the end of last season. They’re hungry.

“We talked about it a lot at the end of last season, we went through it and tried to process it as a team,” she added. “They were understandably disappointed. We tried to focus on how far we’ve come.”

Team chemistry, junior forward Miranda Galbraith said, is one of the biggest carryovers from a year ago.

The Marauders outscored opponents, 45-12, in 17 games in 2017, scoring more than one goal in 12 games. Edmonds finished the season with eight shutouts, two of which came in the postseason. But Hanover’s offense fell short in a 1-0 championship loss to Windham, which won its third title in five years.

Diana Schwarz led the attack in ’17, finishing the season with 18 goals and six assists. Galbraith was third on the team with five goals last fall and said this year’s group — which lost six seniors to graduation — still feels like it has the same spark, with a little extra motivation from last year’s disappointing finish.

“We all have that fire under us,” Galbraith said. “We’re ready. The chemistry on the team is really good this year.”

Galbraith led Hanover with a goal and an assist against the Generals, who played much of their game in their defense half and struggled to maintain possession through the midfield. Macy Curtis, Lois Schwarz and Kaylei Cardona netted goals in the first half. Galbraith, Eloise Davis and Sabin Mitchell added goals in the second for the Marauders. Diana Schwarz also had an assist.

John Stark sophomore goaltender Sydnee Pelletier was busy, making 22 saves.

Essex, in her 17th year at the helm, said she was pleased with the way her girls came out, particularly with the new players that have been called up from the junior varsity ranks to replace last year’s graduates. Her program consists of two teams, one varsity and one junior varsity instead of the usual varsity and two subvarsity teams, in the last two years, giving Essex and her coaching staff a chance to work more directly with different positions in practice.

The result, she said, has been continuity and depth.

“I learned a lot about the new players (today),” Essex said. “It’s nice to see them working together. It helps me try to figure out what we’re going to do next. … A lot of what we’re doing now is trying to fit in the new players. I’m trying to find spots for them. I want them all to play.”

Hanover (1-0) travels to Oyster River (0-0) on Friday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.