Boonton field hockey defeats Whippany Park

Boonton field hockey defeats Whippany Park

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Boonton field hockey defeats Whippany Park

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HANOVER

After a difficult 0-3 start to the season, the Boonton High School field hockey team entered Monday afternoon’s match at Whippany Park with a chance to continue a stretch of hot play and reach the .500 mark.

Thanks to two first-half goals and strong second-half play from their defense, the Bombers did just that, upending the equally hot Wildcats, 2-0.

“It feels amazing,” senior Rebecca Dempster said of the team’s recent 4-1 run. “It feels great and we want to keep this streak up.”

The two teams started Monday’s contest with a sense of urgency with a chance to stay hot and prove a point before today’s Morris County Tournament seeding meeting.

Within the first 15 minutes of the game, both teams had chances to take an early lead, as the Wildcats earned two penalty corners and a break that led to a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie, while the Bombers earned four penalty corners of their own.

But Boonton senior Emily Sorochynskyj, who started and played the first half as part of the Bombers’ goalie rotation, stepped out to pressure the one-on-one attack and was able to foil it and the Wildcats snuffed out all four of the Boonton corners to keep the game tied at zero.

Boonton finally broke the tie around the 15-minute mark of the first half, thanks to an adjustment from the sideline.

Senior Meghan Mollahan sent a ball into the circle where Dempster was able to corral it and redirect the ball across the cage for a 1-0 lead.

Dempster credited the goal-scoring chance to a slight change in where she was positioned in the circle when her team generated an attack.

“At first I wasn’t on the post where I should be,” Dempster said. “Then my coach told me to get over I did and it helped on my goal and Maddy Leva’s.”

Leva added to the Boonton lead five minutes later when she poked a pass from senior Brianna Frias into the net to put her team up 2-0.

The early scores were big for the Bombers, head coach Jess Cullari said as it helped them stay away from their tendency to get down on themselves.

“It is huge,” she said. “I always tell them we need to start fast and get an early goal. Even if the other team catches up we need that early goal for motivation. We need it mentally.”

After the second goal the Boonton defense, which has given up more than two goals just once this season, took over, holding tight despite a second half full of Wildcat attacks led by junior Jamie Rehus and senior Marissa Kowalskie.

The defense was helped thanks to a rotation of players, including at goalie where senior Briannah Larsen played the second half and made multiple diving saves, which allowed them to stay fresh on an abnormally hot day for late September.

“I play my starting team a lot,” Cullari said. “But I have kids on the bench that as soon as they are in it is ok. I don’t mind subbing at all, as long as they pull their weight and they know I will sub them out if they don’t.”

“I was definitely a lot more pleased with the second half than I was with the first half,” Whippany Park coach Nicole Alloco said. “I think we came out a little flat and against a team like Boonton you can’t do that because they are tough.”

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