Rain doesn’t dampen a gritty win by Lynnfield field hockey

Taylor Valiton (#11) tries to poke the ball past Ipswich goalie Abbie Allen. (Anne Marie Tobin)

LYNNFIELD —  The Lynnfield field hockey team (2-1) continued its winning ways Monday afternoon, battling through heavy rain en route to a 3-0 win over visiting Ipswich.

While the Pioneers dominated possession from start to finish and the defensive unit did not allow a shot on goal, the game was still scoreless midway through the third quarter.

Junior Taylor Valiton broke the stalemate and scored the game winner with 7:40 left in the quarter. Senior Sophia Fiorentino and Valentin added insurance goals in the final quarter. Junior Lauren MacDonald earned the win in goal.

“We knew coming into the game that Ipswich’s defense was good, a lot like ours,” coach Samantha Pindara said. “They were strong in the midfield. They played patiently and they stick tackled well. They do all the things that we try to do in our game. They had a good goalie (Abbie Allen), which we knew. She’s quick and very aggressive and she gets in front of the ball. We really had to move the ball to put it in behind her and that’s something we worked on a lot in practice.”

Lynnfield’s offense ramped up the attack in the second quarter. Two minutes in, senior captain Melissa Caprio played a corner to junior Gia Marotta but her shot was denied by Allen with a nifty kick save. Freshman Lauren Mattia and Valiton also had quality chances turned away by Allen as the quarter wound down.

Lynnfield finally got one past Allen at the 7:40 mark of the third quarter, when sophomore Isabella Fiorentino slipped a pass to Valiton out front, who put Lynnfield on top, 1-0. 

Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Valiton crossed the ball in front of the net. The cross was deflected in heavy traffic by Sophia Fiorentino behind Allen to double the lead to 2-0.

Lynnfield continued to attack the rest of the game, with Ipswich pinned in its own defensive end. With less than a minute to go, Valiton collected a rebound in front of the net and drilled it home.

Pindara said she was pleased with the Pioneers’ play from the back line to the front. 

“I think Melissa Caprio, (senior captain) Maddie Sieve, senior Casey Flynn and  (freshman) Lauren Mattia really stepped up in the midfield,” Pindara said. “They did a great job to break stuff up the whole game. The forward line had Sophia Fiorentino hustling down the line in those corners to get those balls. (Sophomore) Lily Alves defensively, the times the ball was in our defensive end, really stepped up. They did what we were talking about to get the ball back up to our forwards.”

Pindara said she talked at halftime about the need to hustle back and not allow Ipswich’s forwards to slip in behind the midfield and backfield.

“There were a couple of times in the first half when they got in behind our midfield, so we talked about that at the break and said  they cannot allow that to happen,” she said. “We have to get back. We cannot leave them offensively heavy deep in our end.” 

Pindara said she knew the game would be tight and it was all about finding a way to score. 

“That was our goal coming in today and it paid off,” she said. “It’s like soccer when you simply don’t get a lot of chances. Ipswich is a great defensive team so those three goals were earned.”

Lynnfield’s next game is at home on Wednesday against North Reading.

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