The Porkers made it to the third round of the 2017 Division I field hockey State Tournament. Walpole received the number one seed in the South section of the tournament, granting the girls a first round bye and setting them to play North Attleboro in the second round. The Porkers defeated the Rocketeers 5-1 on Saturday, Nov. 4, and went on to lose to Duxbury 3-2 on Nov. 6.
Both Walpole and North Attleboro came out with strong defensive play to start their game, preventing any goals from being scored, until the Rocketeers struck first blood when they scored with 18:40 left in the first half. Walpole responded quickly to the Rocketeer’s offensive, as junior Nikki Griffin scored a goal at 16:20. Griffin scored another goal about a minute later, giving the Porkers a 2-1 lead over the Rocketeers half way through to first half.
“My teammates did a really good job of putting me in positions where I could be successful and score,”Griffin said.
“I did my best to take the opportunities given to me and capitalize on them. I’m the one credited with the goals, but everybody on the field played a role in helping me score.”
Walpole continued the offensive momentum Griffin started with a goal from senior captain Celia Walsh and a goal from junior Caileen Quinn. Walsh scored the Porkers’ last goal of the game at 25:38 in the second half, leaving the final score of the game at 5-1.
Next, Walpole faced Duxbury, the six seed from the South section of the tournament. With a record of 13-3-2—almost identical to Walpole’s record of 13-2-2—Duxbury would be a tough matchup for the Porkers, but as the defending state champions, Walpole would be no cake-walk for Duxbury either.
“We went into the game knowing we were going to have to be at our best,” senior captain Christine Murray said, “duxbury has some strong players.”
The game went scoreless for the majority of the first half, until senior Alex Rodia scored for the Porkers at 9:35. The Dragons scored a goal of their own just under 40 seconds later, at 8:54 to tie the game.
“Both teams started out really strong, which made it really difficult for both ends to score,” Rodia said, “neither team wanted to let up the first goal.”
The second half also went scoreless for most of its duration, until Duxbury took a 2-1 lead with 8:17 left in the game. Following an offensive corner, Walsh ripped in a goal 10 yards away from the net, tying the game at 2-2 with only 1:28 remaining in regulation time.
“The moment was very unexpected,” Walsh said. “I honestly didn’t even realize that it went in at first. I think it showed that as a team we could make a quick recovery when we needed to, and it proved to us that we were still in the game.”
The second half closed in a 2-2 tie, pushing the game into a sudden death overtime period. From this point on, the next team to score would win and advance to the next round. Five minutes into the overtime period Duxbury maneuvered through Walpole’s defense and scored the final goal off a corner, ending the game and consequently the Porkers’ season.
“In the end it just didn’t end up working out the way we wanted,” senior captain Saylor Murphy said, “we didn’t stop fighting until the very end.”