DANVERS — A slow start by the Lynnfield field hockey team (1-2) proved costly Monday as the visiting Pioneers fell 2-1 to Essex Tech (2-1).
“We didn’t come as we would have liked and Essex did,” Lynnfield Coach Samantha Pindara said. “They came out on fire. We didn’t.”
Izzy Fiorentino scored the Pioneers’ only goal, converting a corner from a Lauren Mattia feed. Lauren MacDonald went the distance in net. She faced six shots on goal and made four saves.
First-year Hawks Coach Delaney Yule said a strong start was the key to the game.
“It was definitely a back-and-forth game,” she said. “Lynnfield is a great program and we always have good games between the two of us. Our focus this year is coming out strong and trying to maintain that and get the other team on their heels a little bit and I think we did a good job of accomplishing that today. We played well offensively and our defense really held it together.”
Essex Tech dominated possession for much of the first quarter. The Hawks finally broke through at the 10:02 mark on a goal by Brooke Shaugnessy with an assist from Sam McClure. Lily Alves had Lynnfield’s best chance in the quarter. With under a minute to play, she worked the ball deep into the zone only to be broken up by a Hawk defender.
The Hawks made it a 2-0 game less than five minutes into the second quarter on a goal by Gigi Barrows (assist to Shaugnessy).
Pindara had seen enough and called a timeout.
“We called that timeout in the second quarter after they scored and I do think that after that timeout we regrouped and were more energized,” Pindara said. “The energy just wasn’t there so we regrouped and I believe for the rest of the game the energy was there.”
The strategy paid off as four minutes later, Fiorentino cut the deficit to 2-1. The Pioneers carried play the rest of the half and had a few good chances to tie including back-to-back corners with about six minutes to go in the half. Alves, Taylor Valentin and senior captain Maddie Sieve did a nice job creating opportunities. The Pioneers survived a dangerous Hawks’ push with less than 10 seconds to go, but MacDonald made a kick save to end the threat.
In the second half, both teams had several offensive chances, but defense ruled. With less than seven minutes left in the game, the Pioneers’ offense stepped up. Gia Marotta, Lauren Mattia and Sophia Fiorentino had a great chance inside the box, but couldn’t get a solid stick on a shot. A couple of minutes later, Isabella Fiorentino drilled a shot, just wide. With three minutes to go, senior captain Melissa Caprio’s corner shot to Mattia was cleared by McClure.
Lynnfield’s last attempt to net the equalizer came with less than 10 seconds to go. But Tech’s defense stood firm, clearing a ball pushed into the box by Valiton.
Despite the loss, Pindara said there were some positive takeaways from the game.
“We played hard and did some good things,” she said. “Izzy Fiorentino was strong at the center forward position. She had some great ball-handling today. Lauren Mattia did great in the middle as well. Gia Marotta and Melissa Caprio also did some great things. We just needed to clean up the little things and the game would have been different.”
“Coming into the season we knew we were young on the offensive side and that is something we’ve been focusing on and we’re going to continue to work on, especially with the last two weeks and all of the rain and the heat, we haven’t had much practice time to really hone in on those. We played Essex in the CAL Play Day so we knew that Essex Tech was going to be tough.”
Pindaro said she is looking forward to Lynnfield’s Oct. 17 rematch with Tech.
“I’m glad we get to play them again. We won’t see them in the tournament as they are in Division 3 (Lynnfield is in Division 4). In a positive way, they’re physical and don’t worry about getting hit. We need to play teams like that.”
Lynnfield’s next game is Wednesday at Newburyport.