After dropping a 1-0 decision to Merrimack in the middle of last week, the Londonderry High School field hockey team ended the week in a celebration by defeating the previously-unbeaten, arch-rival Pinkerton Academy squad in Mack Plaque play.
The Lady Lancers 2015 record slid to 2-4-1 with a 1-0 nipping at the hands of former LHS coach Ann MacLean’s Merrimack High Lady Tomahawks in Merrimack on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
But that tough defeat was entirely forgotten four afternoons later in Derry when Londonderry tallied a 2-1 overtime win over a Pinkerton squad that was 5-0-1 in its first six games of the fall.
Londonderry (3-4-1) snagged a 1-0 lead with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter when Alli Whitehead was set up by Hailey Gilbert. And 1-0 was where the score stood at halftime.
But the host Lady Astros knotted the game tally up at 1-1 with 6:09 left in regulation time on a labeled shot by veteran stalwart Sam Day.
However, the Lady Lancers bagged a rare win over the arch-rival Pinkerton contingent in overtime on a play that coach Laura Federico has no trouble keeping frozen in her memory.
“It was a beautiful one by Olivia Palumbo, unassisted,” said Federico. “Olivia took the ball down the right side, brought it into the circle, and lifted the ball. It hit the post and bouced in to win the game.”
The victorious LHS side received a big, 13-save performance from star goalie Rachel Simkevich in bagging the momentous victory.
“We have never beaten Pinkerton in the six years I have been coaching, and Mack Plaque is always a game the girls are ready to play,” said the coach. “It’s all about the history of this game and the crowds are just as excited for the game. The girls played with intensity today and never let up. Pinkerton had a total of 17 corners, but our defensive corners were outstanding. Offensively, we had only one corner, and the entire game we were fighting for that one opportunity to capitalize on, and we did in the first half.”
But the coach and her charges knew that over the past three years they have been up by one goal at points and watched Pinkerton come back to tie the score. And that’s what happened again in Saturday’s battle.
“But unlike the past three years we actually won in OT,” said Federico. “I am so happy for each and every one of those girls. They knew they were the underdog, they knew on paper they had no chance to win, and still they came out and played with heart and integrity. A wonderful thing to see for a coach.”
Federico was particularly pleased with the performances of keeper Simkevich, sweeper Val Shay, defender Sophia Poulin, center-midfielder Hannah McGrath, forwards Gilbert and Maeve McPhail, right-middie Katie Meuse, Hannah Cohen, and goal-scorers Whitehead and Palumbo.