PEABODY — The Swampscott field hockey team ended its regular season on a high note Thursday afternoon, notching a 3-1 victory over Bishop Fenwick at Donaldson Stadium. The Big Blue netted two goals on set pieces, an area of the game coach Jamie Spano has been waiting for all season.
“It’s finally coming around in the last game of the season, but that’s okay,” Spano said of Swampscott’s ability to score on corners. “It’s just in time for the tournament, so building confidence by scoring on two corners was huge for us today.”
Swampscott’s Sydney Cresta had one goal and one assist, while Natalie Domeniconi and Ashley Marston each had one goal. Goalie Jillian Flanders played a solid game in net.
For Fenwick, the lone goal came from Katherine Clancy.
“I thought we started off a little slow in the first half, but we were able to pick it up in the middle part of the game,” said Fenwick coach Marybeth Mahoney. “But then we had that breakdown in the midfield near the end of the game and that led to those two goals. We have to clean that kind of stuff up.”
Swampscott came out with a lot of aggressiveness offensively in the first half. The Big Blue made several strong runs at the net and earned a number of corner opportunities within the first 10 minutes. While it hasn’t been the strongest part of Swampscott’s game this year, the Big Blue were able to capitalize on a corner less than seven minutes into the game. After Cresta got the ball on the inbound pass, she sent a ball toward the net at an angle. From there, Domeniconi slipped behind the defense and was in perfect position for a rebound, which bounced right to her. She buried the rebound to give Swampscott the 1-0 lead.
While Fenwick did get a small rally going toward the end of the half, Flanders and the Swampscott defense stood tall to take a 1-0 lead into the half.
Things changed up a bit in the second half, at least at the beginning. Fenwick came out of the gate hot to start, finally getting some consistent offensive pressure. It paid off with 19 minutes left in the game, when a rebound bounced right onto Clancy’s stick and she knocked it in to tie the game at 1-1.
But from there, Swampscott kicked it into another gear. The Big Blue applied the pressure on for the remainder of the second half, earning a few more corner opportunities in the process. But the key chance came with about three minutes to go, when a corner opportunity turned into a scrum in front of the net trying to knock the ball in. Eventually, Marston was able to get enough wood on the ball to knock it home and put the Big Blue back in front, 2-1.
Just 30 seconds later, Cresta netted a goal to put Swampscott up 3-1 and effectively seal the win.
With the regular season all wrapped up, the Big Blue (10-2-6) will turn their focus to the upcoming state tournament.
“We need to be aggressive out there,” Spano said. “We’ll be in good shape if we can start games like we did today, come out aggressive and not be flat. We want to be able to come into a game and set the tone early.”
Fenwick (8-8-2) is also aiming to make a splash in the state tournament.
“I think we need to focus on just scoring when the opportunity presents itself,” said Mahoney. “We get a lot of scoring chances, but taking advantage and putting the ball in the net is a challenge at times.”
The field hockey state tournament pairings will be announced next week.