ConVal field hockey goes out on a high note

 ConVal junior Isabella Messa slams the ball upfield. 

 ConVal junior Isabella Messa slams the ball upfield.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal freshman Natalie Andres gets the ball through the midfield. 

ConVal freshman Natalie Andres gets the ball through the midfield.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal junior Elsa Hubbard-Lemay patrols the defensive end. 

ConVal junior Elsa Hubbard-Lemay patrols the defensive end.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking makes a save against Laconia Thursday. 

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking makes a save against Laconia Thursday.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking makes a save against Laconia Thursday. 

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking makes a save against Laconia Thursday.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal head coach Kelly Shirk urges her players to stay the course during the first-period break.

ConVal head coach Kelly Shirk urges her players to stay the course during the first-period break. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

 ConVal senior Emily Vanderpool clears the ball out of the Cougar defensive end. 

 ConVal senior Emily Vanderpool clears the ball out of the Cougar defensive end.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal senior Lucille White moves the ball upfield against Laconia Thursday. 

ConVal senior Lucille White moves the ball upfield against Laconia Thursday.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

 ConVal senior captain Ellen Rupp fights for possession.

 ConVal senior captain Ellen Rupp fights for possession. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal senior captain Morgan Norby celebrates her game-winning goal. 

ConVal senior captain Morgan Norby celebrates her game-winning goal.  —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking celebrates after learning she set the Cougars' single-season save record. 

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking celebrates after learning she set the Cougars' single-season save record.  —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal celebrates their game-winning goal. 

ConVal celebrates their game-winning goal.  —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal assistant coach Shauna Whittemore hugs junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking after Foecking broke Whittemore's single-season save record. 

ConVal assistant coach Shauna Whittemore hugs junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking after Foecking broke Whittemore's single-season save record.  —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking celebrates after learning she set the Cougars' single-season save record. 

ConVal junior goalkeeper Ronia Foecking celebrates after learning she set the Cougars' single-season save record.  —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

By BEN CONANT

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 10-13-2023 12:21 PM

The ConVal field hockey team sent their seniors out on a high note Thursday, shutting out Laconia 1-0 on a record-breaking afternoon in Peterborough.

"They played really well," ConVal head coach Kelly Shirk said after the game. "They kept the energy up, which was awesome, and they just kept working together. Second half of the season, we've been playing so well, but we just haven't finished, so finally being able to really finish is a nice way to end it."

It was ConVal's first senior night win since 2018 and just their second win of the season. Despite another missed postseason, the mood on the sidelines -- where reserve players cheered on their mates with gold-and-blue pom-poms -- was exuberant. 

"The girls love hanging out with each other," Shirk said. "They're really close -- a good unit. So they like to have fun, and we try and make sure that they're having fun regardless."

There was plenty to cheer for Thursday, as the ConVal defense -- backed by stellar junior goaltender Ronia Foecking -- kept the Sachems scoreless, even as the visitors piled up corner attempt after corner attempt. Foecking had an excellent junior season; she stopped all four stroke attempts throughout the year, came into the final game with an 86% save rate and after a final tally, it was official -- she'd broken the Cougars' single-season save record with 363. 

"She kept us in so many games, energy-wise, [with] her drive and desire to stay in goal and to push through it all,” Shirk said.

The previous record was 352, set by 2012 graduate and now-assistant coach Shauna Whittemore, who was there to embrace Foecking after she received the news. Foecking, along with junior defender Elsa Hubbard-Lemay and seniors Ella Rupp and Emily Vanderpool, did everything they needed to do to set ConVal up to win, and the offense did the rest.

Late in the third period, freshman Natalie Andres took control of the ball in the midfield and passed it to senior Lucille White, who carried it all the way to the goal and fired a shot. The initial salvo was turned away, but senior captain Morgan Norby was right there to clean it up for the score.

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"She was really happy to be able to finish there, and step up for us - really, all season long - and come up with the final goal,:” Shirk said.