Marauders advance to third straight state final

  • Hanover's Katherine Blaisdell, center, reacts to her first goal in the first half of the team's NHIAA D-ll with Merrimack Valley on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Exeter, N.H. Hanover won 4-0. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Hillary Mackall moves the ball near Merrimack Valley's goal with Merrimack Valley's Abigail Forbes and goalie Rosemary Ostrowski on her during their NHIAA D-ll, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Exeter, N.H. Hanover won 4-0. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High fan Robin Nichols cheers while holding a giant photo of Hanover player Macy Lawson during the team's NHIAA D-ll semifinal with Merrimack Valley on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Exeter, N.H. Hanover won 4-0. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Merrimack Valley's Reilly Swislosky stays with the ball with Hanover's Margaret Logan on her during their NHIAA D-ll semifinal on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Exeter, N.H. Hanover won 4-0. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Macy Curtis moves down the field with Merrimack Valley's Grace Raymond on her during their NHIAA D-ll semifinal on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Exeter, N.H. Hanover won 4-0. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2019 10:03:31 PM

EXETER, N.H. — Unlike the rest of her Hanover field hockey teammates, Kate Blaisdell already has an NHIAA Division II state title. She was on the Windham High team that beat the Marauders in the championship game two years ago.

But on Friday night at Bill Ball Stadium, the junior transfer could not have cared less. Her only focus was delivering Hanover an opportunity to win its first state championship since 2009.

Using her experience and offensive abilities, Blaisdell helped jump-start the Marauders’ offense with two first-half goals within 10 minutes of each other. The scores helped No. 2 Hanover power past No. 6 Merrimack Valley, 4-0, giving the Marauders a spot in Sunday’s championship game at Bedford High.

The berth will be Hanover’s third straight title game appearance, but the previous two have produced losses in heartbreaking fashion.

“I’m able to bring the energy,” Blaisdell said. “As I was telling them, we need to bring the energy right away. We can’t wait for the second half to react. We had to start full steam, and we did that.

“They’ve almost won the championship so many times. They’ve been through a lot. It’s built up this feeling of wanting to do it for them.”

After a slow start, which featured two penalty corner opportunities for Merrimack Valley in the first five minutes, Hanover regrouped. The last thing it wanted was another close call such as Monday’s quarterfinal win over Goffstown, which had to go to overtime.

Blaisdell made sure that didn’t happen. A Northeastern University commit, she moved to Hanover due to a job change for her father.

Blaisdell struck for her first goal with 12:26 to play until the break on a chop shot from 10 yards out. The unassisted strike wasn’t even seen by the Pride’s goalie until it hit the back of the net.

Blaisdell’s offensive prowess showed on the second goal. Macy Curtis received a pass off a penalty corner and sent a shot in the air to left of the net, which was deflected off MV goalie Rosemary Ostrowski’s stick. Blaisdell recovered the ball, settled and fired in her second score.

“She’s been a key addition to that midfield line,” Hanover coach Jean Essex said of Blaisdell. “I thought maybe she’d be the scorer (this season); she was tonight.

“One of the things we’ve been working on all season was the mental part of the game. Don’t lose your cool. Don’t panic. It will all come together. They’re a very smart and composed team.”

Hanover (13-1-1) didn’t wait long to get another score in the second half. Anna Stafford poked in a rebound from Curtis’ entry shot less than four minutes into the second half.

With less than 20 minutes to play, Gail Morse scored on a Katherine Naughton pass for the Marauders’ final goal.

Goalie Ella Edmonds had a chance to score her first goal of the season with 19 minutes, 36 seconds to go. Hanover was given a penalty stroke opportunity, and instead of having Curtis take it, as usual, Edmonds got the chance.

Her shot bounced off the left goal post. Edmonds still made three saves for her ninth shutout of the season.

“I wish I got it. At least I didn’t miss the whole goal,” Edmonds said with a smile. Hanover’s motto throughout this season has been “one more.”

For the group of 10 seniors, one more means Sunday will be their final high school field hockey game and their final chance to win the elusive state title.

In 2017, Hanover lost to then Blaisdell’s Windham team; last season, it was a loss to Derryfield. Both were 1-0 defeats, and each featured a Hanover goal waived off. Curtis and Edmonds, also Division I college commits, know there will be games after Sunday.

But there’s something about going out on the right note.

“Being in the finals three years in a row, I just want to win,” Curtis said. “Third time’s the charm, hopefully.”

Notes: Hanover outshot Merrimack Valley, 11-5. The Marauders created seven penalty corner opportunities, while the Pride mustered five. … Ostrowski made six saves for Merrimack Valley. … Blaisdell now has 14 goals and 24 points on the season. Curtis’ assist brings her tally to eight. … Sunday’s game is set for a 1:30 p.m. start time at Bedford High’s Bulldog Stadium. No. 4 Souhegan will be the foe after the Sabers’ shootout upset of No. 1 Derryfield following a scoreless tie. … Friday night’s game was a makeup of Thursday’s rainout. … Blaisdell’s former school, Windham, will face off against Concord in the Division I championship game.

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




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