Division 2 field hockey: Frontier Regional ends Greenfield’s reign, reclaims WMass trophy

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  • Frontier Regional celebrates winning the Western Massachusetts Division 2 field hockey championship, Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. Frontier beat Greenfield 1-0. Visit gazettenet.com for photos. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Emily DeMaio, center, hugs Alyson Barnes (3) after scoring the game winning goal to win 1-0 over Greenfield for the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier girls receive the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship trophy after winning 1-0 over Greenfield on Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Emily DeMaio, right, shoots to score the game winning goal in double overtime to win 1-0 over Greenfield for the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield players react after losing 1-0 to Frontier for the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship on Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier celebrates winning the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship 1-0 over Greenfield on Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Olivia Vecellio, left, and Greenfield’s Katie Haselton battle for possession during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield’s Katie Haselton (2) moves the ball downfield contested by Frontier’s Lily Spencer (10) and Alyson Barnes (3) during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Olivia Vecellio, right, and Greenfield’s Kaylah Eggsware vie for possession during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier goalie Skyla Burniske dives to stop an offensive attack by Greenfield during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Lily Spencer, right, carries the ball under pressure from Greenfield’s Heather French during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Lila Roch, left, carries the ball downfield contested by Greenfield’s Kaylah Eggsware during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Olivia Vecellio winds back to clear the ball downfield during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship against Greenfield on Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield’s Racquel Provost, left, and Frontier’s Lila Roch fight for possession during the WMass Div. 2 field hockey championship Saturday night at Roberts Field in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/10/2019 11:07:51 PM

HOLYOKE — It took regulation and almost two overtimes, but the Western Massachusetts Division 2 field hockey trophy is back in South Deerfield.

Frontier Regional broke through against rival Greenfield, beating the Green Wave, 1-0, in double overtime to claim its first Western Mass. championship since 2015, under the lights Saturday at Roberts Field.

The Red Hawks had lost three straight to the Green Wave in the sectional title game.

“I’ve seen their disappointed faces the last three seasons,” Frontier coach Missy Mahar said. “Every season the goal is to get to this game and bring it home. To see them be able to execute tonight and get it in double overtime I am so proud of them.”

Emily DeMaio netted the game-winner in the second overtime with about a minute left, assisted by Lila Roche.

“It just ended up on the right,” DeMaio said. “I just stroked it in. We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment.”

After the game-winner by DeMaio, senior captain Olivia Vecellio sprinted over to Mahar to celebrate.

There is another goal for the Red Hawk on their wrists. The players have wristbands with November 16th imprinted on them, signifying the date of the state finals to be played at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“Me and my dad we made them,” Vecellio said. “It’s the day of states. It’s the place Missy (Mahar) has never been. It’s the place we hope to be. It’s what we’ve worked for. Why not? We want to go all the way.”

Frontier plays Central Mass. champion Hopedale on Tuesday at Grafton High School.

“That is the end goal,” Frontier’s Lily Spencer said. “To get Missy a state championship. We owe everything to her. All we want to do is win for her.”

The goal came on a flurry of shots after a penalty corner. Greenfield’s Ainslee Flynn made three consecutive saves before the ball found the cage.

Spencer’s frustration from losing to the Green Wave had reached its boiling point heading into the finals.

“I was not going to lose again,” Spencer said, clutching her trophy. “I was telling all the younger girls to do it for the seniors, do it for Missy (Mahar). We just did not want to lose again.”

As the game went into the first and second overtimes, every play became possibly game-breaking.

“That was intense,” Spencer said. “All the way up to 10 the whole time. There was not a single second where we thought we could sit back and breathe. We started out playing intense defense and were finally able to break out.”

The Red Hawks lost Vecellio for five minutes in the first overtime and part of the second for a card violation, which was her second.

During the overtime periods, the teams played 7-on-7.

“We practiced 7-v-7 a lot,” Spencer said. “It’s do or die at that moment. Losing Liv (Vecellio) was crazy. But we’ve been practicing that.”

With time winding down and the teams headed for strokes, the Red Hawks crashed the net ending in DeMaio’s goal.

Goalie Skyla Burniske held off Greenfield, especially during an incessant offensive attack to start the half for the Wave.

Burniske (five saves) made three consecutive saves after a Greenfield penalty corner to keep the game scoreless.

Greenfield controlled play from the outset and for most of the game with Frontier getting most of its offense through transition.

Greenfield had plenty of chances but just could not get one into the cage to take the lead.

“I could not be prouder of these girls,” Greenfield coach Erin Thayer said. “Their fight, their tenacity and their desire. They’re a heck of a group of girls and I am so proud of them. They played the best game I have seen them play all season long.”

The Wave forced eight penalty corners and had five shots on goal.

Frontier had four penalty corners with six shots.

Greenfield does not have a senior on the roster. The lone junior, Katie Haselton, was all over the field for the Green Wave.

“We are going to be right back here next year,” Thayer said.

Flynn made five saves for the Green Wave.


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