NHIAA Field Hockey: Pinkerton girls win battle of powersBy MICHAEL ABELSON
Special to the Union Leader
September 11. 2017 9:23PM
DERRY — On paper, it was battle of undefeated powers, but in the end everything came up Astros.
Pinkerton did everything right against Winnacunnet of Hampton and put the Warriors away 3-0 in a battle of Division I field hockey’s best.
The Astros lost to Winnacunnet in the 2014 and 2015 finals as well as last year’s semifinals. It was Pinkerton’s first win over the Warriors since a 2-1 victory on Sept. 17, 2014.
“I think that we prepared really well,” said Pinkerton coach Katie Van Nostrand, whose team is 4-0. “(Winnacunnet is) a very talented team all over the field. We focused on a lot of defense and strong stops and doing what’s next with it. We did a good job of capitalizing on those things.”
Pinkerton’s offense got going early and never stopped. The Astros had a goal disallowed early but kept the intensity and broke through in the final 12 minutes of the first half. Senior tri-captain Carly Young scored to get Pinkerton on the board. Six minutes later, sophomore Mai Shea let loose a rocket of a shot that found the back of the goal to put Pinkerton ahead 2-0 going into halftime.
Sophomore Marley Mailloux assisted on both of the goals in the first half.
“Offensively we’re hungry against Winnacunnet,” Young said. “We want to beat Winnacunnet every year. We saw the pass, we made the pass. We really connected in the first half. We have a strong, young team.”
The Warriors (4-1) found a rhythm in the second half but couldn’t consistently generate offense. Much of that was due to Pinkerton’s lockdown defense that cut off Winnacunnet at one shot and didn’t let the Warriors take over the game physically.
The Pinkerton defense was anchored by Sarah Collins, Jess Shatford, and Lily Auger. Khaliyah Ellis didn’t need to do much in goal but held firm in the second half with two big sprawling saves.
“I think our defense is the best in the state right now,” Young said of the defense. “I’ve never seen our defense this good.”
Emma Davis put the game on ice for Pinkerton with a goal 13 minutes into the second half.
“(We) played very, very well,” Van Nostrand said. “We’ve been working, when we lose the ball, on re-defending. I think that’s when we picked up a lot of balls going back in, and I believe we scored on a couple of them. Just realizing that if you lose a ball it’s not the end. You’re still not done; get the ball back right away.”