State Semi vs. Smith Academy

By John Anderson

Tonight at 5:00, Auburn will play Hatfield’s Smith Academy in the State Division 2 Semi-final at Grafton. Neither team is a stranger to playoffs, and spectators should see a good competition between the Central and West champions. Auburn is ranked #1 in Central, 18-0, while Smith is ranked #1 in the West.12-5-1.

Also facing off tonight in Braintree are North’s #1 Watertown, 18-0, against South’s #2 Dover-Sherborn, 17-1. The winners of tonight’s semis will play in the final later this week.

The field hockey team piles together after the victory. ©John R. Anderson

The field hockey team piles together after the victory. ©John R. Anderson

Coach Bethann Cormier recalled Auburn’s last participation in States, 2010 when freshman Jamie McNamara was playing varsity. The Rockets lost to Watertown that year 1-0. In 2011, Auburn fell to Oakmont 2-1 in the Divisional final, and in 2012, they lost to Lunenburg 1-0 in the first round of playoffs. Three 1-point losses can certainly be converted this evening into a win, a specialty of this 22-0 team.

Smith Academy sits in the heart of the Pioneer Valley just above Northampton and west of Amherst. The population is under 4,000, and their public school district is the smallest in the Commonwealth. Smith Academy is a combination junior/senior high school housing grades 7-12 with an enrollment of just over 200 students. Despite the small size, the Academy has a long athletic tradition including state basketball titles in 1990 and 1992.

Field Hockey is also a major program, and Olympic Field Hockey player Judy Strong is an alumnus. Smith is ranked #1 in the West Division 2 with a 12-5-1 record. They defeated Frontier Regional 2-1 in OT for the Western Mass title. In 2012, Smith was ranked #2,11-3-4, and lost in the division semi. In 2011, Smith was also #2, 10-6-2, and fell in the division final.

In 2010, at #2, 13-4-0, Smith lost in the division final.

If the Rockets stick to their game, they should be able to avoid an entry in the loss column. They deserve this win after such a powerful and thrilling season. Attached is a slide show of the Saturday’s post-game celebration. We hope to publish another on Wednesday.