Pioneers get long awaited first round win

LYNNFIELD — Thanks to a couple of well-timed coaching adjustments and monster goaltending at crunch time from Emily Dickey, the No. 8 Pioneers knocked out No. 9 Danvers with a 2-0 win in the first round of the Division 2 North state tournament at Pioneer Stadium. Ashley Barrett and Lily Rothwell each scored a goal for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers outplayed the Falcons for much of the game, but were stymied on corners, going 0-for-6 in the first 24 minutes of the game.

The seventh one, however, was a game changer.

“Their No. 15 (Erica Halbon) was good and she was at the post on the left side and kept us from getting shots off,” said Lynnfield coach Mamie Reardon. “She was getting to the balls and sending them back out so we decided to flip sides to the right side, and it worked for us.”

Carolyn Garofoli inserted the ball on the corner to the short side to Laura Bockoff, who crossed the ball through the circle where Barrett was waiting, all alone on the left side of the cage. Barrett slammed it home just inside the right post at the 5:21 mark to put the Pioneers on top for good.

The goal definitely got the Falcons’ attention, as they stepped up their attack for the rest of the half, but Lynnfield’s defense was up to the task.

Danvers came out strong with a flurry of offense to start the second half, but the Pioneers began to find their rhythm. The action was back-and-forth with both teams having chances but coming up empty.

With 19:14 to play, Rothwell played a long ball 30 yards downfield where Danvers goalie Brigid Churchwell came 25 yards out of the net to beat Ashley Barrett to the ball. Barrett battled for possession and played the ball into Rothwell on the right side, who beat Churchill to make it a 2-0 game with 17:35 to play.

Lynnfield survived a wild final four minutes after being flagged for a 5-yard infraction on a free hit and had to play two minutes down, thanks to Dickey, who made two saves and also covered up a couple of loose balls in scrambles in front of the net.

Lynnfield hits the road for a quarterfinal matchup with Cape Ann League rival Manchester Essex (17-0-1) on Friday at 7. The Hornets, the No. 1 seed, defeated the Pioneers earlier this season, 2-0.

“We played them evenly in the regular season and it was 0-0 at the half,” Reardon said of Manchester Essex. “It feels great to finally win a first-round game. The kids knew what has happened the last three years when we dominated opponents but lost, so they were determined not to let that happen again, especially Laura (Bockoff) who was so vocal today telling the kids the whole game to stay focused and keep their sticks down.”

Bockoff said it’s been a tough three years, losing games as the higher seeds.

“For three years we have never really made it into the second round and we were bound to change things,” she said. “It’s been really rough to lose the way we did, so we have really been working to hold opponents for the entire game, right to the end. Today we weren’t going to let anything get in our way.”


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