Frontier field hockey shuts out Northampton for sixth straight win

For the Gazette
Thursday, October 05, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Entering the second half of a scoreless game between the Frontier Regional and Northampton field hockey teams, Kenzie Patterson knocked in a rebound off an assist from Olivia Vecellio to give the Red Hawks the lead.

That one goal was all Frontier needed en route to a 2-0 victory over the Blue Devils in a defensive struggle Thursday.

Vecellio created multiple scoring opportunities for the Red Hawks and was able to get back on defense to protect the lead.

“Olivia is very special in the sense that she creates so many opportunities, but she is also very good at winning the ball back after losing it,” Frontier coach Missy Mahar.

Vecellio has 11 goals and 10 assists on the season. Thursday’s one-point effort snapped a run four straight games with multiple points.

Before every game the Red hawks chant, “If you’re not going all the way, why go at all?” To Vecellio, it’s more than just a good-luck charm, but a way to play the game and live life.

“To me, it means if you’re in it to win it you should go for it but if you’re just jogging around don’t even come,” Vecellio said. “All or nothing.”

Vecellio has set career highs in goals and assists this season.

“As a player, I feel like I’ve grown, and pushed my level of play,” she said. “I played on multiple teams over the offseason and just played with my team more in general.”

Patterson picked up an assist on a goal by Kimmie Asseng to make it 2-0.

The Red Hawks (8-1-1) have won six straight and are unbeaten (7-0-1) over their last eight games. Frontier is one point shy of qualifying for the postseason.

“Each game, we’re just striving to improve,” Mahar said. “We can’t get complacent, and that’s something we talk about all the time, we always have goals we want to reach, but we understand it takes hard work, dedication, and commitment.”

Blue Devils goalkeeper Dani Parent played well in net stopping 14 shots, while the Northampton offense had one shot on Frontier goalie Skyla Burniske.

“We knew Northampton had good stick work and played a well-executed possession style game, so we knew we had to slow them down,” Mahar said. “We really looked to keep them diagonal and play effective defense.”

Controlling the ball for a majority of the game, Frontier effectively froze Northampton’s offense and set the tone en route to its fifth straight shutout.

The Red Hawks host Minnechaug on Tuesday, while the Blue Devils (2-5-1) host Holyoke on Friday.