Gunnery girls claim New England laurels
Published 5:33 pm, Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The Gunnery's field hockey squad broke new ground this past fall by capturing the New England prep school class `C' championship.
Coaches Kate Merritt and Jennifer Badger guided their team past neighboring Canterbury in the quarterfinals, Dana Hall School in the semifinals and Winsor School of Boston in the `C' championship match.
"I'm just so proud of our team, our coaches and the girls, for the extraordinary effort they showed all season, and in the postseason in particular," said Head of School Peter W.E. Becker.
"Certainly full of talent, they distinguished themselves by their gritty, fearless play. They demonstrated their best in stepping up and winning so many 50/50 balls and, through that, dictating play."
In both the semifinal and final games, The Gunnery came from behind.
The Gunnery trailed Dana Hall, 1-0, midway through the Round of Four match.
"This, apparently, was the spark we needed," said Ms. Merritt. "Gunnery came alive and scored two goals, four minutes apart, both tipped in by senior Tess Mindham."
In the championship match vs. Winsor, The Gunnery was again down, 1-0, as the first half was coming to an end, but Caroline Beckmann was able to tie the game just before intermission.
Katlyn Paiva scored the championship-winning goal in the last five minutes of the game.
"Both games were hard fought," said Jon Russillo, Gunnery's director of athletics. "The other teams we faced were very competitive and very good."
Ms. Merritt reflected on the spirited finale.
"The second half was an intense 30 minutes, but our senior leadership was not going to let this championship slip away," she said. "They played hard, keeping the ball in our offensive zone. The seven senior players made all the difference."
"The girls hung tough, didn't panic and stepped up their efforts," said Mr. Becker, "We are lucky to have outstanding coaches in Kate Merritt and Jennifer Badger, and the girls embraced that adversity and dug deep to grind out the wins."
Mr. Russillo also credited the coaches with being driven and focused, yet calm and cool.
"They never showed frustration," he said, "Our team was composed because they were composed. They looked ahead. They never looked back."
The team closed the books on its season with a record of 16-1-0, winning games against Rye Country Day, Greens Farms, Hamden Hall, Hopkins, Westover, Kingswood-Oxford, Millbrook, St. Luke, Ethel Walker, Suffield, Williams, Kent, Canterbury, Wilbraham & Monson, Dana Hall School and Berkshire.
Contributing their efforts during the season were Caroline Beckmann '13 (Tuscon, Ariz.), Erin Bond '14 (Roxbury), Hanna Carlin '13 (Millbrook, N.Y.), Dana Cerone '14 (Ridgefield), Moira Compton '14 (Coatesville, Pa.), Casey Cullen '14 (Palm Beach Gardens, Fl.), Caitlyn Darosa '15 (Madison) and Jacqueline Hagopian '13 (South Kingstown, R.I.).
Also, Gillian Horn '13 (Bronxville, N.Y.), Krista Lamoreaux '13 (Avon), Meghan Lembo '14 (Southington), Kayla Meneghin '14 (Clifton, N.J.), Hannah Michalik '15 (Durham), Tess Mindham '13 (Red Bank, N.J.), Falon Moran '13 (Beacon, N.Y.), Shannon O'Conno r'15 (Torrington) and Katlyn Paiva '13 (Rehoboth, Mass.).