READING — Three-time defending Division 2 state champion Watertown blanked Apponequet, 3-0, Wednesday to claim the EMass field hockey crown. The Raiders, who extended their unbeaten streak to 91 games, will face Oakmont Saturday at Worcester State in the state finals.
“We needed to change our game plan, needed to step it up,” said Watertown coach Eileen Donahue. “We had one day to prepare for [Apponequet] in the freezing cold rain and it paid off.”
The Raiders (22-0) came out eager from the start, earning a corner two minutes in that resulted in the first goal of the game. Sophomore forward Emily Loprete tipped in a pass from Melissa Butler to give Watertown the lead.
After the break, Loprete was right back at it, again netting a corner goal off a feed from Butler, 2:48 into the second.
“It felt great because it put us ahead in the beginning,” said Loprete. “It gave us more confidence.”
Apponequet (19-1-1) battled back, with Cara Storms and Jade Rodrigues leading the way. The game got rough, though, and Rodrigues received a yellow card with 11:12 left to play, forcing the Lakers to go one player down for five minutes.
The Raiders took advantage two minutes later when sophomore Rachel Campbell blocked a defender’s outlet pass and sent it in the net.
“We just had to stay composed,” said Donahue. “We can’t retaliate, and that’s not easy to do. I thought we just hustled the entire game.”
Solid Raider defense limited the Lakers to one corner and two shots on net. Campbell, Loprete, Allie Doggett, and Lauren Sutherland led the offensive charge for the Raiders.
Donahue said her team’s transitions put it apart from Apponequet.
“As a whole, it starts with the goalie and works its way out,” said Donahue. “When it got to our back area, they were always looking up, so the transition piece worked for everyone.”
She added, “I’m glad we have two days to prepare [for the state final]. We’re going to up our game big-time for them.”