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Wednesday’s field hockey: South Hadley rebounding from tough start

A rough first half of the season has put the South Hadley field hockey team in a deep hole if it hopes to qualify for the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament.

The Tigers took a big step forward this week, however, going 2-0-1 over three days capped by a 9-1 win over Central in Springfield Wednesday.

“We definitely didn’t expect to be in this position,” said coach Tara Cole, whose team has reached the postseason in five straight years and won the WMass D-1 title in 2010. “But having three starters injured for two weeks definitely messed with the flow of the team a little bit. The younger kids did a nice job, and they got some good experience, but we have a long climb ahead of us.”

After going 1-7-1 over the first half of its season, South Hadley (3-7-2) tied Palmer 1-1 Monday, defeated West Springfield 3-0 Tuesday and then rolled against the Golden Eagles Wednesday.

“We are hoping to make a big push,” Cole said. “The next few weeks should be exciting.”

Olivia Szydziak netted a hat trick Wednesday, while Dominique Wilkins (one goal, two assists), Hayley Racicot (two goals) and Merry Kocot (one goal, one assist) each scored multiple points.

Emily Florence and Hannah Nelson scored once each. Nelson’s goal was the first of her varsity career.

Allie Rondeau and Jordan Roy each were credited with an assist. Roy’s was the first of her varsity career.

Sam Brault made four saves for South Hadley.

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