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Sports

October 9, 2012

Swampscott field hockey shakes up NEC race by knocking off previously unbeaten Beverly

SWAMPSCOTT — “I believe; don’t let up!”

That was the message Swampscott High field hockey coach Toby Channen kept shouting to her team yesterday morning — a message that apparently resonated with her players.

Channen’s faith in her team paid off as the Big Blue handed Beverly its first loss, 2-1, in a Northeastern Conference showdown at Phillips Park.

It had been nearly four years to the day — Oct. 14, 2008 — that Beverly had lost a field hockey game to another NEC team. Ironically, it was Swampscott that beat them by the same 2-1 score that day, as well.

“This is the first league loss for us since I’ve been playing,” said Beverly junior captain Nicole Woods, who scored the lone goal for her team. “Swampscott always gives us a tough game.

“Having a loss is brutal, but it’s better happening now than in the tournament like last year (in the North quarterfinals). We can learn from this game.”

Knocking off Beverly was no easy task. In the final seconds of the game, the visitors swarmed the front of the Swampscott net in an attempt to tie the score, but Big Blue goalkeeper Katie Samiljan managed to keep the ball out of her cage as time expired.

Swampscott’s win certainly tightens things up in the NEC title chase. Four-time defending champion Beverly still has the edge with an 11-1 overall record, but the Big Blue — who with a loss yesterday would have seen their own title hopes all but ended — inched closer up the standings at 9-1-1.

“After losing to Beverly the first time, my girls really wanted this one,” Channen said. “The team has a lot of heart, and this was a complete team effort. They deserve this win.”

Beverly (which defeated Swampscott earlier in the season, 3-0) not only lost its first game but also one of its top players in the late stages of the game to an injury. Junior MaryCate Flaherty suffered a head injury and needed an ambulance to take her to the hospital, where X-rays were negative.

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