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September 02. 2014 10:27PM

NHIAA Field Hockey: Mannella's goal lifts Bedford to victory

BEDFORD — Anne Marie Mannella knocked in a loose ball in the crease with 3:34 remaining to give Bedford a 3-2 win over Concord in a field hockey opener for both teams on Tuesday.

“It bounced off someone’s stick and there was no one in the circle,” said Mannella. “So I decided to go for it and it ended up going in.”

Just a minute earlier, Concord had tied the game when Stephanie Resnick knocked in the ball off a scrum in front of the Bedford goal.

Heavy rain fell just before game time and when the sun came out, humidity was at tropical levels on the field, making things hard on the players. “The air was hard to breathe,” said Mannella.

Both teams got off to a sluggish start for the first 25 minutes. “I think it was a combination of being the first game and the weather. It was hot,” said Bedford coach Steve Connors. “I think the nervousness gets in their heads, trying too hard.”

“It could have gone either way. Definitely a different game on turf,” said Concord coach Stephanie Johnson, whose team is used to playing on grass. “It was really hot today but both teams had to play in these conditions.”

The teams swapped late goals in the first half and were tied 1-1 at the break. The Bulldogs went up 2-1 on a goal by Kennedy Boyle with 19:34 to go.

Defensive plays took on added importance. Bedford defender Molly Muir saved a sure goal by diving across the crease with her stick. “It was all just a blur and I thought I just can’t let that ball in,” said Muir.

Kathlyn Rooney (Bedford) and Lauren Mullen (Concord) scored the game’s other goals.

“We are a young team getting used to working with each other,” said Johnson. “It’s just a matter of working through it, learning from this game and preparing for the next.”

“We let them tie the game with three minutes to go and (his team) made sure we didn’t go into overtime,” said Connors. “That’s a credit to (the Bulldogs) making that happen.”

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