CONWAY — The Kennett Eagles field hockey team (1-0, Division II) reopened the high school outdoor athletic fields at the Redstone campus for the first time since June 2019, posting a thrilling 2-1 victory over arch-rival Berlin (0-1, Division III) on Friday at Centola Field.
The home opener also served as Senior Day, with seniors and their parents recognized with flowers and gift bags before the game.
Kennett got on the scoreboard first when sophomore forward Tessa Cappozoli notched her first career varsity goal with 33 seconds left in the first quarter, from an assist by Kathryn Hawkes. Kennett doubled the lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter, when senior forward Hawkes scored with an assist from senior midfielder Mackenzie Carr.
Berlin did not lay down and go easily. With 11:44 left in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers cut the lead in half on a goal by Kenna Balderrama. But the Eagles held on with solid play to secure the victory.
Head Coach Cassandra Daley felt that her Eagles "played really well for being their first game and (a) new line up, as well as having only eight practices beforehand. We had a lot of scoring opportunities and were in our offensive end a lot of the time."
Daley singled out midfield player, senior Maddie Stewart, for extra credit. "She had a great game in the middle; she controlled the field and created a lot of scoring opportunities."
While Daley praised the play of the girls from above the Notch, she felt the Mountaineers playing style led the Eagles to play "too clumped up, so that will be an area to work on." Other training areas Daley noted to focus on were "passing accuracy and scrappiness in the circle."
The Eagles got their chance to exhibit improvement in those areas in a key match-up Monday in Plymouth against the Plymouth Bobcats (0-1: lost 1-0 at Newfound last Friday). Results of that game were not in by press time.
In a new schedule wrinkle, the Eagles follow up with a home rematch against the Bobcats Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Athletic Director Neal Weaver made considerable efforts to arrange schedules so that playing the same opponent in consecutive matches will limit potential exposures to many different opposing players in a short span of time. In the condensed fall athletic schedule, this will limit disease transmission risk and help with tracing should any illness issues arise.