DANVERS — The third time was the charm for the Gloucester field hockey team against rival Danvers.
The Fishermen and Falcons met twice in the regular season, and the Northeastern Conference champion Falcons won both games. On Sunday in the Division 2 North quarterfinals, however, Gloucester turned the tables with a 2-0 upset win at Deering Stadium.
With the win, Gloucester (13-3-2) advances to the Division 2 North semifinals Wednesday against No. 10 Pentucket at Lynnfield High (5 p.m.). Danvers finishes up the season at 16-2-2.
“We knew we had to show up to play our best, because Danvers was going to,” Gloucester head coach Lauren Riley Gove said. “We stuck to the plan and took care of business when we got our chances. We were all over the field tonight.”
“It’s tough to beat a team three times, and we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” countered Danvers head coach Jill McGinnity. “We had a lot of corner chances that we didn’t convert, and that was a problem for us all year.
“I’m proud of them, they kept coming until the end. But we just couldn’t make it happen tonight.”
It was the Falcons that got off to a strong start. Led by midfielders Emma Thibodeau and Grace Brinkley, they started to take a territorial edge and an edge in corners.
Gloucester, however, received a big spark with 13:36 to go in the first half. The Falcons were awarded a penalty stroke after a Gloucester defender played the ball with her hand in the circle. But Gloucester goalie Mia Wheeler made the save with a move to her left to keep it scoreless.
“Mia’s save set the tone for everybody,” Riley Gove said. “She was all over it. When the girls saw her step up like that they all started to step up their game.”
Less than three minutes later, Gloucester took the lead. On a corner chance Kelsey Lowthers fired the ball into the circle, where Mia Salah one-timed it into the net.
Danvers really pushed for the tying goal in the final minutes of the first half, earning five consecutive corner chances. But the Gloucester defense, led by Olivia Lattof, Vanessa Linquata, Aria Caputo and midfielder Ella Marshall, kept the ball out of the net to take the lead into halftime.
“It was a back and forth game and we had to take advantage of those chances we got,” McGinnity said. “We played well to earn all those corner chances, but we just couldn’t finish them.”
Gloucester came out firing to start the second half and scored again 5:39 in when Cate Delaney drove down the right wing and crossed one into the box, where Maddie Machado knocked it in with a one-timer build a 2-0 lead.
Danvers picked up the aggression in the final seven minutes, hitting the outside of the post with five minutes to go, but could not find the goal to spark the offense.