CHESHIRE – No. 2 Cheshire field hockey’s standout season came to an end on Friday afternoon in a 2-1 Class L quarterfinal loss to No. 7 Staples at a figid Alumni Field.
Staples (13-3-0-1) advances to the state semifinals behind goals from Gabriela Vega and Meghan Johnson. Cheshire’s goal came from Meaghan Hogan.
Offense was difficult to come from for all 60 minutes. Each squad had only three shots on net apiece.
Vega scored with 15:49 left in the first half to go up 1-0. Cheshire goalie Lexi Hemstock made an initial save, but the rebound went right to Vega, who knocked it into the cage. Christine Taylor had the assist.
Cheshire had one good shot that Bridget Mulloy (2 saves) turned away late in the first half.
The Rams (15-2-1-2) came out fired up in the second half when Hogan scored with 26 minutes left in regulation to tie the match 1-1.
Johnson put the visitors back on top for good with 21:10 left. She scored with an assist from Abby Najarian.
“The second goal they scored was so beautifully earned,” said Cheshire’s Eileen Wildermann, the SCC Coach of the Year. “Staples plays a very different style and I think we adapted well. It was just a fight in the midfield and we just didn’t come out on top. I’m proud of them and I’m proud of the season we had. We only had two or three seniors playing and they were an inexperienced team that quickly became experienced.”
Hemstock came out of her position and met a Staples’ attacker with seven minutes left to snuff out that opportunity. Hogan took a shot off of a penalty corner with six minutes left that went wide left. That was Cheshire’s last best chance to score.
It was the final game for Cheshire seniors Caroline Jentzen, Gina Allegrini, Gabrielle Tagliaferi, Madison Diglio, Alexa Purcell, Mia Pulisciano, Kayleigh Mulligan, Elizabeth Vignola, Chloe Kurtz, Julia Schaff
“We put all of our hearts on the field,” Schaff said. “Staples is a very good matchup with us. Even though we lost, I thought we played well. The biggest highlight was being around this team every day. This team is like a family.”
Pulisciano said she loved playing on the Rams.
“The biggest thing I’m going to remember about high school was being on the field hockey team,” Pulisciano said. “Coach Wildermann is the best person ever.”
Pulisciano, Schaff and junior Anne Eddy served as the captains in 2017.
“My captains did a great job keeping everything in order and keeping everything fun and serious at the same time,” Wildermann said. “They kept everything focused.”
Pulisciano is most likely headed to Division III Salve Regina next year. Schaff will play at Southern Connecticut.
Staples, the 2016 Class L co-champion, will face No. 3 Greenwich next week in the semifinals..