WINCHESTER — The Winchester field hockey team had built a 2-0 first-half lead against a Watertown program that had not lost a game in nine years.
So yes, protecting the Winchester goal midway through the second half on Monday afternoon, Brooke Ross was still on edge.
Then freshman teammate Niki Micciche connected for a 3-0 cushion with 12 minutes, 17 seconds remaining at Knowlton Stadium.
“I thought, ‘there is no way we are losing,’ ” said Ross, a sophomore goalie.
“The ball had been in my half probably seven or eight times, it had been in my circle maybe six times and I just thought, ‘there is no way, we have this.’ ”
She continued, “The look on everyone’s face on our team vs. the look on the faces of their team, I knew it was ours.”
And it was. At game’s end, Winchester had finished off a stunning 3-0 victory over its Middlesex League rival, halting the nation’s longest unbeaten streak in high school field hockey at 184 games, and stopping Watertown’s win streak at 124.
The eight-time defending Division 2 state champion Raiders had not lost since Nov. 12, 2008, a 3-2 defeat to Hopkinton in the state semifinals. Watertown had opened the season on Thursday with a 5-0 win over Reading.
Winchester had absorbed a 6-0 defeat to Watertown last September, but rallied for a 13-3-2 finish that was punctuated by a run to the Division 1 North final against Acton-Boxborough. The Sachems had opened the season with a 6-0 win over Wakefield.
On Monday, Winchester (2-0) did not play scared, a point that coach Michelle White tried to emphasize. No matter the opponent, they needed to go out and get the job gone.
From the start, Winchester played with confidence.
Senior Madison Micciche struck first, scoring unassisted with 15:05 left in the first half. Eight minutes later, she helped set up Clare Moloney-Kolenberg, who found the back of the net out of a scramble.
“We knew from the beginning we had it,” said Madison Micciche. “And just getting that [first] goal confirmed it, it gave us so much confidence and there was no going down from there.”
Said White, in her 14th year as head coach, “I don’t think we are surprised. Going into the game, the whole time even in preseason we thought we had a chance in this game, just like any game. I’m not sure that we thought we were going to go and score three goals and have a shutout, but I’m not surprised by it.
“Watertown always gives us a good game, and they kept pushing, we were tired and they kept on us.”
But the Raiders were never able to finish off a chance.
The historic victory cemented, there was jubilation and smiles on the Winchester sideline, followed by the exchange of handshakes with Watertown. But there was another game to be played, so the two varsity programs scurried off the field to make way for the junior varsity players.
But once Winchester wrapped up its quick postgame meeting, the Sachems were beaming as if they had won one of the biggest games they had ever played. And they had.
“We had the chance to go in and make history,” said Winchester senior Mariah Redler, “and this year there was more of a chance, I could just feel it. We went into this game differently, it wasn’t just Watertown who came in with this winning streak, it was just a regular game. Just having that attitude was the biggest part of winning.”
And in victory, White could only marvel at the streak that her program has just ended.
“They’re going to come back, they’re that type of team,” White said of Watertown. “[Coach Eileen Donahue] is a great coach . . . and certainly they’re going to come back, but the fact that a team can win that many games in a row, that’s impressive.”Logan Mullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.