CONWAY — It was only a matter of time. The goal drought is over for the Kennett High field hockey team. The Eagles scored five second-half goals to top Merrimack Valley 5-0 at Centola Field on Thursday.
KHS had scored four goals in its first three matches of the season while posting three consecutive shutouts and dominating at the offensive end. It looked like the goal drought might continue at home against the visiting Pride on Thursday. The Eagles owned the first half, hitting the post twice and coming oh-so-close on numerous chances but were unable to find the back of the cage.
At halftime, Coach Cassie Daley implored her troops to find another level with their intensity. The hometown flock responded.
“I told them that I’d seen little bursts of intensity from each of them, but they had to find more,” Daley said. “Finally, my gosh, it happened, we played Kennett field hockey for 20 solid minutes in the second half. I’m proud of how the girls played, but they’ve got to play like that for an entire match.”
Kennett took the lead for good 3:30 into the second half when Kathryn Hawkes found pay-dirt from close range for her second goal of the fall.
The Eagles doubled their advantage at the 22:23 mark when Maddie Stewart slammed home a rebound for her second goal of the campaign.
With 16:58 to play, Natalie Shaw netted her third goal of the season. She tacked on two more with 12:25 and 5:12 left to play. The final goal came off a nice assist by Eva Drummond.
The Kennett defense pitched a shutout with MV not recording a shot on goal. The Eagles have allowed just five shots on goal through four matches.
Tatum Brett and Liz Korowski had strong games in the midfield, while Josie Phaneuf, Ella Chandler and Drummond made sure Hannah Frittenburg had a quiet afternoon in goal.
The win lifted KHS to 4-0 in Division II, where there are five schools still undefeated — Kennett, Derryfield and defending champs Hanover are 4-0, while Souhegan is 3-0, and Pelham 2-0.
Kennett improved to 5-0 on Monday when Berlin (2-1 in Division III) made the trek through Pinkham Notch to Centola Field. The Eagles won 2-0 (but details of the match were not known as of press time).
Kennett is scheduled to host Pembroke (0-4) this Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The Spartans, who hosted Oyster River (1-2) on Monday (results not known as of press time), have run into two of the top teams in the division in Hanover and Derryfield already this season. Derryfield won 11-0 in Manchester on Sept. 6, and Hanover won 6-0 at home on Friday.
“We have to be ready to play whether it’s Derryfield or Pembroke,” Daley said. “You can’t afford to take anyone lightly in this division.”
Next week, the Eagles will travel to Manchester to play Derryfield on Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. in a highly anticipated matchup.