September 21. 2017 12:53AM

NHIAA Field Hockey: Windham fights back

Special to the Union Leader

AMHERST — Nineteen days ago, defending state Division II field hockey champ Windham suffered a one-goal loss to Souhegan. The Jaguars returned that favor on Wednesday, beating the previously unbeaten Sabers 3-2 on a late tally by freshman Katie Blaisdell.

“We wanted to make sure we came out strong,” said Windham coach Katie Blair, whose team is 7-1. “They took one at our house, so our mission today was to take one from theirs.”

“Overall, I’m super proud of how they executed the game plan,” said Sabers coach Kelli Braley. “They gave me 100 percent of what they had.”

Souhegan (8-1) went up just nine minutes into the contest when senior Kate Lindsay got the Sabers on the board.

The Jaguars responded to make it 1-1 with a tally from Alexa Slaski on a penalty corner, one of their six penalty corners.

The Sabers bounced back two minutes later with a flurry in front of the net resulting in senior defender Madison Robicheau breaking the deadlock.

Windham’s Mary Johnson tied it before the end of the half.

The second half was scoreless until late, with Sabers goalie izzy Anton holding strong throughout. She made several diving stops, and had eight saves total. With 7:43 remaining, Erin McCool laid her stick across the goal line to prevent a tally herself.

With 17:53 left in the second half, Windham was awarded a penalty stroke. Anton stood tall as Taryn Livingstone’s shot was saved.

“Izzy was fantastic,” said Braley. “She always is. On the stroke, it’s never an easy thing to take. Game’s on the line, and she was our hero.”

That momentum could have easily gone Souhegan’s way, but Windham stepped up.

“No matter what, we always support our players,” said Blair. “We had Taryn take the shot because she’s awesome at it, even though she missed we just rallied like we’re going to win this, nothing is going to stop us.”

After rigorous transition for both squads, Windham finally broke through on its offense end. Blaisdell ripped one through the Souhegan defense and gave the Jags their first lead of the game.

“We were down twice, 1-0 and 2-1,” said Blair. “We finally took the lead and maintained it until the end.”

The loss for the Sabers ended an undefeated run, but Braley sees a lot in her team still.

“You either win or you learn,” said Braley. “Continual wins are super fun and great, but we can go back and dissect the finer points of what happened.”

For Blair and the Jaguars, it’s another step in their overall mission.

“We celebrate the win tonight, and get back out against Lebanon on Saturday,” Blair said.