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Fast start, strong defense help to put NEPSAC field hockey championship in Phillips Andover’s corner

Phillips Andover players celebrate with the championship trophy after winning the NEPSAC Class A title.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The Phillips Andover field hockey team needed just 1 minute, 37 seconds to get on the scoreboard in Sunday’s NEPSAC Class A championship game against unbeaten Sacred Heart of Greenwich, Conn.

Another early goal was later followed by two penalty strokes, allowing the Big Blue to capture a 4-1 victory at the Winsor School, complete an 18-0-1 season, and claim the program’s first prep title since 2018.

It wasn’t easy though.

Sacred Heart (19-1) was awarded 13 penalty corners in the first three quarters and the Andover defense deserved credit for keeping the team in control. Big Blue freshman goalie Ellie Parker made four saves in the first three frames and added a fifth save in the fourth.


“I really trusted our defense, I trusted Ellie,” Andover coach Kate Dolan said. “She’s great. She’s a freshman, she’s really composed. Big moments don’t faze her.”

A teammate put a crown on the head of Phillips Andover freshman goalie Ellie Parker.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Parker had to stretch out her left leg to make her most impressive save of the game 1:35 into the third to preserve a 3-0 lead. The Tigers scored 21 seconds later, but other than that Parker handled everything that was thrown at her.

On the first goal, senior Georgia Adams redirected a Shea Freda drive from about 30 yards out.

“It felt surreal,” Adams said of the score. “It was so quick in the game. I think we thought this was going to be a battle and I think it was crazy to get the goal right off the bat. I think that really set the tone for the game, it was exciting.”

Meghan Dunne made it 2-0, scoring off an assist from Aimee Seppenwolde with 8:50 to go in the first. With seven seconds remaining in the second, Gwyneth Lapp pushed it to 3-0 with the first of Andover’s penalty stroke goals.

Parker made saves at the 8:29 and 4:19 marks of the third to keep it at 3-1. Those were huge in a contest in which Andover was awarded just three penalty corners.


Elizabeth Harrison fires home Phillip Andover’s final goal on a penalty stroke in the fourth quarter.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The two penalty strokes proved to be golden. The second came five minutes into the fourth when Seppenwolde sprinted way ahead for a loose ball and drew the call. Senior Elizabeth Harrison took the stroke and finished upper left to put an exclamation mark on the offensive showing.

“I think it was definitely hard to keep the momentum,” Adams said. “But I think our defense was insane and blocking all those corners was actually more momentum for us than it was for them.”

Coach Tess O’Brien (right) and Brooks celebrated a Class B title win over Middlesex.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Class B

Brooks 2, Middlesex 1 — Brooks (16-4) received a goal and an assist from Brooke Rogers to build a 2-0 lead and held on thanks to a save from Kyleigh Matola (5 saves) with 2:08 to play.

Rogers scored with 2:54 to go in the first after receiving a pass from Mary Adams on a play that started as a penalty corner. Rogers got involved again with 8:25 to go in the third when she poked the ball from the left side to Molly Driscoll, who finished with a hard shot and goal to the left.

Middlesex rallied with a penalty corner goal from Emma Poplyk with 1:08 to go in the third, but it was not enough.

Winsor not only hosted the NEPSAC field hockey championship games, but also beat Newton Country Day to win Class C.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Class C

Winsor 2, Newton Country Day 1 — The host (13-3-1) struck just one minute in, then in a 1-1 game in the third, Julia Ryan connected for the go-ahead score, and Winsor survived a Newton CD penalty corner that finished as time expired.


On the winner, Ryan slid down near the Newton CD net as she was shooting from the right side. She also assisted on the first goal by Sophia Russell.

Newton CD scored its goal with 5:50 to go in the second on a Callie Joyce pass to Jane Bresnahan.

Girls’ volleyball

Class B

King School 3, BB&N 0 — The Knights (20-1) were dealt their first loss in what had been a historic season in the title game, 25-21, 25-21, 25-20. Sophomore Sherry Ren had a team-high nine kills and freshman Corinne Holness had eight. BB&N, under the direction of third-year coach Jeff Emenaker, won its Independent School League title and qualified for the NEPSAC tournament for the first time.

Girls’ soccer

Division Class A

BB&N 5, Worcester Academy 0 — BB&N (21-0) had not lost a game in more than two years, and had no plans of stopping Sunday. The top-seeded Knights won their 35th straight contest, completed an undefeated season, and captured a Class A title in one swoop with a convincing win.

“I’m just super proud of the girls,” coach Graeme Blackman said. “I’m incredibly proud of how hard they’ve worked this past year.”

Sam Suplee (2 goals), Francesca Valverde (2 goals) and Meredith McDermott provided the scoring in a tough, physical win. Katie Lynch secured the shutout for a BB&N team that gave up two goals all season.


Even a yearlong hiatus could not take down BB&N, which is now repeat champion with a winning streak dating back to October 2019. Blackman says his team’s familial bond has fostered sustained success.

“It’s not one of those [things] where they show up and play the game,” he said. “They are best friends off the field. So while they are constantly pushing each other to be better practice, they always have each other’s back.”

Class B

Suffield 4, Pingree 1 — Suffield Academy had four different goal scorers on its way to winning the championship.

“The girls played with their hearts and left everything on the field,” Suffield coach Dan Sullivan said. “It was a total team effort.”

Nadja Meite, Reeghan Sullivan, Diana Baffor and Kaitlyn Suller added goals for Suffield. Freshman Allie Donovan scored the goal for the Highlanders.

Class D

Lexington Christian 2, Vermont Academy 1 — Senior Nyan Greene scored in the 22nd minute and then set up her sister, Ani, an eighth-grader, for the winner seven minutes into the second half as LCA (9-9-2), the No. 7 seed, capped its impressive run through the tournament with the victory at Deerfield Academy.

Receiving a header through ball from her sister, the younger Greene made a rush up the middle and finished it off, neatly putting away a left-footed shot. Lexington Christian ousted No. 2 Hamden Hall (4-1), No. 3 Tilton (2-0), and then No. 4 Vermont Academy.

“The girls showed a lot of grit and heart this week,” LCA coach Kathryn Purinton said.


Correspondents Ethan Fuller and Oliver Glass contributed to this story.