WALPOLE — Moments after dethroning the defending state champions — sweat still dripping from their cheeks, but getting caught on their seemingly permanent grins — Duxbury field hockey captains Keely Smith, Abby Hickey and Hannah Zimmer offered some insight on why this win meant so much.
Not only was it the most exhilarating game the seniors ever played in, but they all agreed it was one of the best moments of their lives. Sixth-seeded Duxbury trailed early, gave up a lead late and stuck the landing in overtime, earning a 3-2 win over third-seeded Walpole in the Division 1 South quarterfinals on Monday night.
Zimmer and Hickey anchored a sterling defensive effort against one of the state’s most potent offenses, and Smith delivered the winner four minutes into overtime off a corner. It wasn’t just that they won, but how they won.
“Everyone doubted us going into this game,” Hickey said. “I was like, ‘We’re not going to lose. I’m not leaving this game until we win.’ ”
The teams traded goals in less than a minute late in the first half, as Alex Rodia scored for Walpole (14-3-2) and Eugenie Rovegno immediately answered for the Dragons (15-3-2). The teams went into halftime deadlocked at 1-1, but senior Caroline Kent converted with 8:17 remaining to catapult the Dragons in front.
Duxbury was 1:30 away from a win, but Hanna Jacobs finished off a corner to send the game to overtime at 2 apiece.
“They could have folded,” Duxbury coach Terry Vandewater said. “Everyone stayed as united as possible, and that’s really what brought it home.”
The Dragons scrimmaged Cohasset last week and the players believe that paid dividends.
At first, Smith thought her shot would be stopped, but she was overjoyed when she heard that familiar thump.
“When we got that corner, I knew Keely was going to get it in,” Zimmer said. “I just knew it.”Trevor Hass can be reached at email@example.com.