IPSWICH — One goal led to another, and another, and another ... and so it went.
The Masconomet field hockey team quickly broke open a scoreless game with six quick goals en route to a 6-1 victory over Ipswich Thursday afternoon.
It was the Chieftains’ ninth win of the season (9-0-2), and with it the defending Division 1 North champions officially qualified for the postseason tournament.
After a very competitive first half that saw Tigers goalie Kayla Laddin deny the Chieftains on some quality scoring chances with a couple of nifty kick saves, the visitors made some adjustments at halftime. Masco got on the board 11 minutes into the second half on a corner as Mak Graves was set up by Kate Zamagni and fired a hard, low shot that Laddin had no chance to stop.
The floodgates opened after that with four more goals in a span of five minutes. Zamagni got the offense going with a goal and two assists while freshman Maggie Sturgis added two goals and freshman Julia Graves had one.
Zamagni set up the second goal with a long cross to Lily Conway at the far post. Less than a minute later, Sturgis collected an unassisted goal on a shot that deflected off Laddin’s leg. Zamagni made it 4-0 after taking a pass from Sturgis as the Chieftains used aerial passes successfully to move the ball upfield.
“At halftime we talked about making some adjustments,” said Masco head coach Maggie Bridgeo. “The girls knew what had to be changed because while we had opportunities, they were shooting at the goalie and not looking to the corners. Once that first one went in it, they kept coming. Five goals in five minutes is amazing.
“Our forward line is so fast; they should all run track,” Bridgeo continued. “They can change direction on a dime, and once everything began clicking the whole team reacted.”
All seven goals in the contest came in the final 30 minutes. Sturgis collected her second of the afternoon after a great crossing pass fro Ava Tello, and Julia Graves finished the scoring with Ava Colllins assisting.
“Zamagni had the game of her life,” said Bridgeo. “She was outstanding. It was nice seeing both Graves sisters score, too. I was able to get everybody in, and that’s important.”
The host Tigers (6-4-2) fought hard all the way and avoided the shutout when Tatum Galuski scored late, with Heather Milano assisting.
“Our kids were energized, and I think we may have caught Masco by surprise in the first half,” said Tigers coach Sarah Murphy. “There was a lot of positive energy, but they scored one and that opened the gate. It was a very quick turnaround, which happens sometimes.
“All our starters were outstanding; Laddin was just phenomenal. The team defense was strong in front of her, and forwards Rowan Galanis, Ali Moulton, and Galuski put a lot of pressure on. (Captains) Milano at midfield and Amelia Krause and Emma Lombara on defense really played well. (Junior midfield) Riley Daly had great energy, too.”
Bridgeo said the youth program in the Tri-Town area has done an unbelievable job getting girls interested in field hockey at a young age.
“The numbers there are terrific, and I have to credit the program for our success,” said Bridgeo. “I’ve never had a tighter knit group of kids than this one. They’re together on the field, off the field, in the hallways at school, and eating lunch together.”