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Hanover field hockey pulls out the stops

  • Macy Curtis, passses to a Hanover teammate as Lindsey Stagg, of Derryfield, lunges during their game in Hanover, N.H., Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. The game ended 0-0 after a period of overtime. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover goalie Ella Edmonds, clears the ball during a persistent attack from Kira Geddes, of Derryfield, during their overtime draw in Hanover, N.H., Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Macy Lawson, of Hanover, focuses on the overtime action against Derryfield in Hanover, N.H., Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. Both undefeated this season, the game ended in a draw. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, September 27, 2019

HANOVER — Halfway through the first half, coach Jean Essex screamed out to her Hanover High field hockey players that they looked scared.

The offense had produced only one shot, the defense had allowed for visiting Derryfield to have its way and goalie Ella Edmonds was one of the lone reasons the game was still scoreless. But halftime adjustments led to a dominant second half for the Marauders. The offense picked up its pace, creating four penalty corner opportunities, and the defense held the Cougars to just a shot.

Edmonds’ 17 saves ultimately led to the Marauders’ 0-0 overtime tie on Friday afternoon at Merriman-Branch Field in a rematch of last year’s NHIAA Division II state final.

“It was time for our defense to step up, because the offense has been pounding people all season long,” Essex said. “It was it was a good challenge for them. It was also a good morale booster. Ella had a phenomenal game in goal.”

The 18th-year coach knew a large part of Derryfield’s offensive attack would rest with Lindsay Stagg.

The senior midfielder and Michigan commit had scored the Cougars’ lone goal in last year’s state championship win over the Marauders. Entering Thursday’s game, she was the state’s leading scorer with 18 goals, but Essex knew most of her scoring opportunities came through her signature move — spinning while putting the ball through her legs.

For the better part of the game Stagg was a nonfactor, thanks in large part to Essex having her Marauders practice defending the move. Stagg only took two shots in 75 minutes of play. When she was on the sidelines during timeouts, she was seen nursing an injury to her right side.

Hanover’s aggressive and physical defense didn’t make things easier for her, either.

“Lindsay’s a piece of the puzzle, but she’s not the whole puzzle,” Essex said. “We focus a lot on our game and play our game. But we did practice countering her classic move; she does it all the time. We’re a good team, and they’re coming together nicely.”

While Stagg was a nonstarter for Derryfield’s offense, Hanover (7-0-1) made sure to create its own scoring opportunities.

With five minutes to go in the first half, Kate Blaisdell sent a hard pass to Macy Curtis, who took off up the left side of the field and created Hanover’s sole shot of the opening 30 minutes.

In the first six minutes in the second half, Hanover created three of its five total penalty corners. One shot went high, another was kicked out and the final nearly went in before Derryfield (8-0-1) cleared the ball.

Blaisdell was forced to sit out for two minutes with less than four minutes to play due to a penalty, but she rebounded in overtime for what almost resulted in the game-winning goal off a penalty corner two minutes into play.

But it was the work of Edmonds that saved the Marauders time and time again. A bounty of diving saves in overtime were just some of her highlights, including one that came with two minutes to go.

For the first time all season, Hanover’s offense didn’t find all its success by racking up the goals on the scoreboard. But its ability to control most of the possession in the second half allowed breaks for Edmonds.

“She saved us today,” Blaisdell said. “She’s amazing. I love having her as a goalie. She just helps the whole team.”

Hanover hosts Lebanon under the lights on Monday.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.