By John Anderson
The Auburn Field Hockey team defeated Hopedale 1-0 in overtime on Sunday to win the quarterfinal round of the MIAA Central Division 2 Tournament. The #1 Rockets came into this game with a 19-0-0 record while the #9 Blue Raiders were 12-5-2.
Like Auburn, Hopedale has a deliberately tough schedule during the regular season including D1 opponents like Algonquin, Notre Dame, and Milford that accounted for 4 of their 5 losses. Hopedale is an excellent, well-coached team that brought a whole lot to Auburn yesterday. They are likely the best D2 team that the Rockets have played so far this season.
This game could have gone either way at almost any moment, but the Auburn defense had a different plan. Unlike most games, the Rockets defended against a team that was in front of the Auburn net a lot, but the Blue Devils were rarely able to shoot. Goalie Abby Lucas only had 2 saves as she earned her 15th shutout of the year.
The Auburn offense drove hard, but they, too, couldn’t capitalize during regulation time. Many shots went high or simply missed the net while keeper Piper Hampsch amassed 19 saves for Hopedale. Corners are a strength of the Rockets, but it took 20 of them to net a goal.
After the game clock expired, the teams went into a 15-minute overtime, and Auburn clearly dominated. With 12 seconds left, the Rockets earned their 17th corner and the clock expired before the shot. Blue Devil infractions resulted in 3 additional corners, all with the clock at 0:00. The game couldn’t end with a corner in play.
On the 20th corner, Senior Captain Shannon Hynes saw an opportunity and took the scoring shot. She told Auburn Mass Daily, “I tried a straight shot, and I’m glad I did.” Jackie Clark had the assist.
Head Coach Bethann Cormier said there may have been some jitters since the seniors knew this would be their last home game. “I’m just so proud of them.”
Auburn will face #4 Quaboag on Tuesday at 3:00pm on the Grafton High School field. Yesterday, Quaboag defeated #5 Bromfield 1-0 in double overtime.