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Girls Field Hockey
Gloucester Gators capture Tier 2 field hockey championship
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Gloucester Gators Brigit Bokovay plays the ball through the midfield during the NCSSAA Tier 2 field hockey championship on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The Gloucester Gators varsity field hockey team capped an undefeated season with a 1-0 win over All Saints Catholic High School on Thursday to capture the NCSSAA Tier 2 championship.

The difference in the game was a breakaway goal by Erin van Gulik who took a pass from teammate Jess Labreche midway through the first half and chipped the ball over the lone defender on the play before sprinting in on the Avalanche goal and firing a shot from 20 metres out that caught the inside of the right post.

"I was surprised (that I had so much room)," said van Gulik after the game. "I usually try to go for the corners. It was a good feeling to score, especially with it being the final and it's so nerve racking."

After the goal, the game was fairly evenly played through the remainder of the first half. The Gators carried the play during the early stages of the second half until the Avalanche finally woke up with about 10 minutes to go in the game. During one two-minute stretch they had three near corners and a far corner, but were unable to get a quality shot on goal.

The Avalanche swarmed the Gator net again in the final minute and a half, but keeper Emily Anderson held her ground, kicking one shot out of harm's way with her left foot.

Anderson has been stellar in net for the Gators since replacing the team's regular starting keeper Beth Anne Poulin in the final game of the regular season. Poulin has been out with a flu-like illness.

First year co-coaches Leslie Rafferty and Doug Lowe gave most of the credit for the Gator's success to the seniors on the team.

"We normally coach the girls' hockey team so we didn't know a whole lot about field hockey when we volunteered for the job," said Lowe. "The senior girls really took charge. They recruited. They helped run the drills. They showed a lot of strong leadership."

City championships have been hard to come by of late for the east end high school which has seen a steady decline in enrollment over the past three or four years.

"We're a much smaller school now so any success is great,:" said Lowe.

Because of recent fears over the spread of the H1N1 virus, the two teams elected to forego the traditional shaking of hands after the game and instead knocked their sticks together as they passed by in single file.

(Posted 2:30 p.m., Oct. 30)

 

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