Hopkinton shuts out Conant, knocks Orioles out of NHIAA Division III field hockey tournament 

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Hopkinton on Friday for an NHIAA Division III tournament first-round game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/24/2020 9:19:16 AM

The Orioles were on their heels all afternoon as the visiting Hopkinton Hawks swooped in and slashed their way to a shutout win in the NHIAA Division III tournament opening round Friday. 

The 6-0 loss was an unexpected and uncharacteristic end for the Orioles, who looked as good as anyone throughout the truncated regular season. And while the COVID-shortened season meant Conant didn’t get a look at tough teams like Hopkinton that were out of their region, coach Jackie Brown said she’d scouted the Hawks in their play-in game win over Mascenic and passed that info along to her team.

“I don’t know what to say, other than we played individually and not as a team,” Brown said. “They are so much better than that.” 

Hopkinton jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period, shocking the Orioles, who hadn’t played a team of the Hawks’ caliber since their season-opening loss to Bishop Brady. Led by speedy, smooth stick-handler Kate Bouchard, Hopkinton’s attackers weaved through Conant’s defenses with ease, criss-crossing the field with diagonal passing patterns and excellent handling, leaving the Orioles stumbling and slipping on the wet grass. 

Isabella Upton had two goals off the bench for the Hawks; Hannah Hoyt, Rose Finlayson and Julia Baer had one each, and Bouchard finished off the game in the fourth period with an absolute laser that caught a piece of keeper Tessa Spingola’s stick and went in.

Sienna Mills had the clean sheet in net for Hopkinton.

It was not the ending Conant had hoped for; after four years of steady improvement under coach Brown, the Orioles wanted to get out of the first playoff round with a win after one-and-dones in 2018 and 2019. They weren’t able to reach that goal this season, but Conant’s climb to contender status is undeniably going in the right direction.

Coach Brown said her steam showed “a ton of improvement” this fall. “And we have nine really talented freshmen, so it’s not like we’re going backwards by any means, and next year’s going to be another year of moving forward, especially with this talent.”

Aside from those talented underclassmen, the Orioles will return junior captain Chelsea Dupuis along with fellow junior starters like Teagan Kirby, Bella Hayes, Emily Muilenberg, Spingola, and Olyvia Middleton. 

Friday’s game was the last for senior captains Elizabeth Gonyea and Tiffany Marrotte, as well as seniors Erin Weidner and Abby Wheeler.

“Losing the seniors is going to be a big hit,” Brown said, “but it’s okay. They helped build this program. They’ve been with me for four years –  it’s bittersweet.”


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