PEABODY — With a talented lineup comprised of 17 seniors and many skilled underclassmen, the Marblehead field hockey team is cruising through its 2017 schedule. The momentum continued Tuesday at Coley Lee Field with a 4-0 win over Northeastern Conference foe Peabody.
The Magicians, winners of their first five contests, were in command from the get-go Tuesday, despite late Peabody rallies. Three first-half goals helped Marblehead rotate in a number of players, and allowed the team to focus in on practicing specific techniques.
“We really have been working on our quick passes and fast releases and seeing the open player and I thought they did that really, really well today,” Marblehead coach Linda Rice Collins said. “They were looking up, finding their options rather than going with a standard play.”
Five minutes into the opening half, Marblehead’s Carolyn Arthur sent a pass across the middle, where Annie Ronan was waiting to knock it in to put the Magicians on the board.
Then, senior Hadley Carlton put on a show, bringing the ball from midfield all the way down to Peabody’s goal, rifling a shot past Tanners goalie Sofia Rodriguez. A couple of minutes later, Carlton again brought it down the sideline and scored, this time using a reverse stick hit to slice the ball into the net for the 3-0 lead.
“She’s a really fun player to watch, and when you see her working with her twin sister (Alex Carlton) out there, the center half back, they connect and see each other and just keep breaking down that field,” Rice Collins said.
The Tanners contained the Marblehead offense for the final 15 minutes of the half, and created a few chances of their own. But against a Magicians defense that’s allowed just one goal in five games, it was an uphill battle.
With 13 minutes to play, Peabody earned a corner, the first and last of the day for the Tanners (each team had one). Senior captain Mallory LeBlanc sent in a cross in front of the Magicians’ net, but no one could get a stick on it, and Marblehead squashed the opportunity.
In the second half, Peabody had better luck getting the ball up the field, but once the Tanners ran into Marblehead’s back line, most scoring opportunities were nipped in the bud.
Ten minutes into the half, Marblehead had a good chance to add to the lead as Lizzie Potvin sent the ball across the net, but no one could reach it to tip it in. Then Peabody’s Hailee Monies looked to have something going down in Marblehead’s end, but the Magicians shut down the small breakaway before Monies could shoot.
Marblehead earned its only corner with 13 minutes to play, but nothing came of it, thanks to Monica Correia, who got in front of a shot by Marblehead’s Kayla Crockett. The Magicians were keeping Rodriguez busy, and she responded, coming up with several big saves in the final 20 minutes to keep Peabody within three goals.
But Marblehead broke through eventually, as Caroline Driscoll was in the right spot at the right time and tipped in a cross pass past Rodriguez for the 4-0 lead.
In addition to Carlton and the other goal scorers, Rice Collins gave credit to Cricket Tompkins, who she said “was moving the ball really well.” The Magicians, who played 25 different players in each half, paid special attention to trying to get the ball in the air.
“We were trying our different air dribbles and high hits, trying to get the ball off the ground,” Rice Collins said.
Marblehead will take on rival Swampscott Thursday on the road, looking to stay unbeaten. The Magicians topped the Big Blue, 2-0, last week. Peabody will look to get back on the right track Thursday as it hosts Gloucester.