It was a frustrating end to an otherwise marvelous season for the Skippers, who lost to the Dolphins, 6-0, in the Division 2 South Sectional final in Taunton on Saturday.
TAUNTON - The clock read closer to noon, but it seemed like it tolled midnight on the Cohasset High field hockey team's dream season on Saturday morning, when defending Division 2 South Sectional champion Dennis-Yarmouth scored two goals in the ninth minute of play, and then took advantage of the gambling Skippers to post a 6-0 win at Aleixo Field.
Eighth-seeded Cohasset (14-5-2) held its foes at bay the rest of the first half, but as time wound down and the Skippers became more anxious to score, the Dolphins (19-0-3) pounced on a few turnovers and padded their score with four second-half goals. It was a frustrating end to an otherwise marvelous season for the Skippers, who also dropped last year's South Sectional to the Dolphins.
D-Y came out of the gate strong and earned its first short corner only two minutes into the game. After some sustained pressure, the Dolphins struck at 8:24, with junior Abigail Hicks, parked at the top of the penalty area sending a crisp pass diagonally toward the left post, where freshman Kayla McGaffigan tipped it home. Seemingly a bit stunned by that goal, Cohasset was flat-footed when play resumed, and the Dolphins darted right back down the field, with McGaffigan scoring again at 8:46, or 22 seconds after the first goal.
Those early tallies put Cohasset in a hole from which it could never climb, and D-Y successfully kept the Skippers bottled up for most of the rest of the half, with only a Cohasset short corner in the 17th minute providing any glimmer of offense.
"We played well overall today," said Cohasset coach Laura Giuliano. "Those first two goals came about through mental mistakes, but unfortunately they put us behind the eight ball for the rest of the match. A game like this is an anomaly to us, but these are the things that happen in championships. When you're always trying to catch up, and pressing forward, sometimes that kind of whiplash happens. Down two goals early like we were, we had to push. It either works, or it goes the other way, like it did today."
The Dolphins' dominance continued into the second half, with Hicks scoring at 40:45, and senior Lucy Agurkis making it 4-0 at 43:01. D-Y managed to get three consecutive short corners in the 50th minute, but Skippers sophomore goalie Caitlin Durkin came up big, with a kick save at point-blank range against D-Y's Shelby Dunn a highlight.
But D-Y kept surging and getting short corners, and at 51:16 Dunn scored. Five minutes later, Durkin robbed Jessica Frisch at close range. Meanwhile. the Skippers struggled to get close enough to mount any serious offense themselves, many of their midfield breakaways thwarted by the D-Y defense. With 2:16 to go, Dolphin junior Lily Holmes closed out the scoring.
"I'm happy to see goals from five different girls - it's great for people to see we're not a one-or-two-man team," said D-Y coach Mary O'Connor. "Those two early goals set the tone today, and gave us the start we wanted. We have seven seniors on this team, most of them three- and four-year veterans, for whom this championship round is familiar territory."
Cohasset graduates seven seniors, but it has a solid group returning next year and lots of young talent in the pipeline.
"We had a great season," said Giuliano. "We played really tough competition this year to get ready for the tournament, so our record was perhaps not the same dominant one it has been, but it helped us improve. We battled through it all and learned a lot, I feel, and to get this far in the tournament two years in a row is an accomplishment. For us to beat Foxboro was a real milestone, going three overtimes and into a shootout, with an effort you have to call heroic. We showed that effort throughout the tournament.
"We have a good core returning, and a very good group of freshmen coming up," Giuliano continued. "I expect we can just keep going forward with this team. Cohasset has a wonderful youth group, led by Beth Gilman, and that's a big advantage for us to have them developing players."
"But this was a great team by any measure," Giulinao concluded. "They had great camaraderie, great leadership from our seniors, enthusiasm for the game, and they're just an outstanding group of young women."