DANVERS — Any time Beverly and Danvers meet it is always a hard fought game in the rivalry, but the Panther field hockey team had added motivation to win yesterday. Coach Trish Murphy was unaware she was going for her 100th victory, but all her players knew and wanted to deliver.
“The captains found out a few days ago, and we wanted to keep it a secret,” said Nicole Woods, who was outstanding. “Monday at practice we told everyone. It took us a while to get going on grass instead of the turf we play on. Not to use that as an excuse, but it is different, and we had to keep our heads up.”
Beverly clung to one goal lead at halftime, but added two insurance goals in the 3-0 shutout over the Falcons. After the game ended Woods dashed off the field to collect balloons and a bouquet of flowers to present to the coach.
“I had no idea, and the girls gave me a nice surprise,” said Murphy, holding her flowers and balloons. “Danvers is always good competition; kudos to them for giving us a tough game. That first half was especially close. We had a lot of chances but didn’t finish.”
Emily Pitman scored in a scramble in front of Danvers goalie Nicole Papamichael after taking a pass from Chloe O’Gorman at the 22:23 mark. The Panthers had applied a lot of pressure, but Papamichael made some terrific kick saves to keep her team close.
“We held them off for over 20 minutes, and I am really proud of the way my girls played,” said Falcons coach Jill McGinnity. “Beverly is a great team with very talented players, but we stepped up to the plate. I can’t say enough about the amazing job my goalie did.”
The Falcons will be tourney bound in their first season under McGinnity.