On Sept. 22, the Concord-Carlisle field hockey team knew it had something special.
After opening their season with four consecutive wins, including their first victory against Dual County League rival Acton-Boxborough since 1998, the Patriots traveled to Wayland. The match was as complete of a game as coach Jacqui Turner had seen her squad play.
“We played all 60 minutes as one unit,” recalls Turner. “The passing was flawless, communication was positive, and the transfers were impeccable.”
The Patriots had three different goal scorers in the 3-0 victory against Wayland: Emma Tonies, Kate Lyons and Julia Lambert, with helpers from Grace Waldeck and Bailey McIntyre. It showed the offensive firepower Concord-Carlisle was capable of, with a roster full of scorers.
“This game was a standard that we set for ourselves,” said Turner. “We have continued to strive toward this style of playing as a team.”
Since then, the Patriots have been one of the biggest surprises of the field hockey season, marching on to a 12-1-1 record and the No. 4 spot in the Globe’s Division 1 power rankings. Their only miscues have come against a tough Holliston team, in a 1-1 draw, and Wellesley’s 5-4 upset, and the Patriots were able to quickly bounce back from both.
“I am most proud of our team’s ability to adapt and overcome adversity,” said Turner.
Concord-Carlisle’s run has been remarkable in an ultra-competitive Dual County League. Year after year, coach after coach will remark about how hard it is to win in the DCL, and this year, the Patriots are meeting the challenge.
Turner believes that the level of competition is leading to her team’s success.
“We are competing at a high level with tough opponents,” said Turner. “We are learning every game and applying this knowledge with our next opponent.”
On Sunday night, under the lights at Acton-Boxborough’s Leary Field, Concord-Carlisle used the knowledge that they gained all season and defeated A-B, 3-1, to win the league’s Thorpe division. Next on tap is the DCL Tournament Thursday and Friday — in which the Patriots won in last year’s 7v7 format — and of course, the MIAA tournament beginning next week.
It’s already been a season for the record books, and Turner and her team are eager to see what comes next.
“We are looking forward to taking each game as it comes,” she said, “and playing our best game of field hockey together as a team.”
▪ This week marks the end of the regular season, with the cutoff for game play Saturday. Tournament seedings, determined by the MIAA’s new power rankings, will be unveiled Monday. There will be 32 qualifiers (plus teams with a .500 record or above) for four divisions (up from two previously).
Games begin Wednesday, with the first four rounds (through the round of eight) taking place at the home site of the higher-seeded team. The concern is that this new ranking system could see teams going across the Commonwealth for games. Factor in bus driver and official shortages and the possibility of wild weather, and it could make for a chaotic first few rounds of the tournament.
Rockport coach Mary Ryan, a member of the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee, said earlier this fall that she believes coaches understand that there may be bumps in the road. “I think they are all well aware of what ADs are dealing with and just trying to be supportive,” said Ryan.
▪ It was a long time coming, but Bedford (8-5-4) won the Dual County League Foley division for the first time in 55 years. Their 3-2 victory against Westford Academy in the first round of the league tournament secured the division title for the Bucs. “Since I began coaching, I have used the 1966 date on the field hockey banner as motivation to win,” said coach Roseanne Ham. “The team set a goal, at the start of the season, that this would be the year to add 2021 to the banner and this special group of young women delivered.”
▪ Somerset Berkley, back-to-back Division 1 champions in 2018 and 2019, has had a tough season. But the Blue Raiders turned things around Monday with a 2-1 win over previously-undefeated Dartmouth. They close out their regular season against Seekonk and Case Thursday and Friday. At 8-4-3 and ranked 19th in Division 2, they should be into the tournament just as they are playing some of their best field hockey of the season ... As the regular season draws to a close this week, the Globe power rankings, based off of the same formulas the MIAA will use come pairings time, see Walpole as the first ranked team in Division 1, with Andover close behind. Masconomet rules the roost in Division 2, with Falmouth in second. Sandwich has a lead over undefeated Watertown in Division 3, and Monomoy is first in Division 4 with Manchester Essex in second.
Games of the week
Thursday, King Philip at No. 4 Franklin, 3:45 p.m. — In Franklin’s second-to-last regular season game, they face a tough King Philip team who enters the contest at 12-3-1. The Warriors’ last loss was to the Panthers on October 8th, and they have won their last three games by no less than three goals.
Thursday, Ipswich at No. 17 Manchester Essex, 4 p.m. — Two of the best teams in Division 4 meet in a Cape Ann League battle. They opened their season against each other on September 7 when the Tigers came away with a narrow 1-0 victory. Since then, the 17th-ranked Hornets have gone 12-2-1, and are the second ranked team in the power rankings.
Friday, No. 13 Hingham at No. 7 Falmouth, 3:30 p.m. — Both top 20 squads close out their regular season with a remarkable contest. No. 7 Falmouth fell to Nauset last week, but bounced back with a win against Dennis-Yarmouth. Hingham is also coming off a loss Monday to Cohasset, and will want to end the season on a high note.