Evenly-matched Big Blue, Magicians play to a scoreless draw

Marblehead's Bella Corsini (left) and Swampscott's Olivia Passalaqua chase a free ball during Monday's game. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

MARBLEHEAD — From the opening whistle, the Swampscott and Marblehead field hockey teams went back and forth at Piper Field on a damp, windy Monday afternoon. In the end, neither team could score that crucial goal and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

“It was a really good game on both sides,” said Swampscott coach Jamie Spano. “We possessed the ball for nearly the whole first half and had a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn’t capitalize on any of them.”

Magicians coach Linda Rice-Collins agreed.

“It was a typical fast-paced game, just like most of the Marblehead-Swampscott games,” said Rice-Collins. “Both teams played very well. It was big for us because we have a very young team going up against a team with a lot of experienced players, so to go head-to-head with them and come out tied was good.”

It was a game of runs in this one, as both teams had periods of time where they were in full attack mode. Swampscott’s came first, about halfway through the first half. The Big Blue got three corner opportunities and a free hit from just outside the circle, but nothing found its way through.

“It’s just a matter of finding the back of the net, we need to continue to work on it,” said Spano. “We’re doing a great job of forcing the issue and getting the corner chances, but we need to find a way to get them into the net.”

Marblehead got its own chances as the first half drew to a close, with two corner opportunities in the final few minutes. But, as with Swampscott, no shots found the back of the net.

In the second half, it was the Magicians who got the early scoring chances, as Marblehead earned three more corner chances within several minutes. On one chance in particular, a bouncing ball led to an opportunity for a goal on a wide-open net, but the Magicians couldn’t execute the shot.

“We had a lot of opportunities, had a wide open net, but we just couldn’t finish,” said Rice-Collins. “We’re going to be doing a lot of work with finishing our scoring chances in practice over the next few days.”

Swampscott got another set of chances as well, and those chances came in the final six minutes of the game. The Big Blue had three corner opportunities and moved the ball well, but a combination of missed hits and Marblehead’s strong defense led to no goals for Swampscott, and the game ended in a tie.

Things weren’t all bad for Marblehead (8-3-1), as the draw helped the Magicians qualify for the upcoming state tournament. It’s a good thing, because Marblehead faces a tough slate to close the season with games against Beverly, Gloucester and Swampscott.

“It’s certainly not going to be the easiest finish to the season, but it will prepare us well,” said Rice-Collins.

As for the Big Blue (6-1-5), there’s still work to be done to earn a tournament spot and become a more consistent team offensively.

“We just have to keep working at it,” said Spano. “We have some big games coming up to end the year, so we’re going to have to figure out how to get the ball into the net.”

Swampscott plays Saugus Wednesday.

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