WORCESTER — From start to finish, they worked. From Game 1 to Game 23.
And the end result on Saturday morning at WPI was another state title for the Watertown field hockey team, the ninth straight for the juggernaut in Division 2, after a convincing 5-1 win over Oakmont Regional.
Seven minutes in, on the Raiders’ third penalty corner, junior Gabby Venezia converted a feed from Olivia Lampasona into a 1-0 lead. Watertown ruled the corners, generating a 19-3 differential at the end of 60 minutes.
Senior Sydney Poulin doubled the margin, scoring the first of her two goals with two minutes left in the first half, and the Raiders (22-1-0) were en route to their 21st straight win.
“Every player played a role in this [championship], whether or not they saw the field,” said Watertown coach Eileen Donahue, who has won 18 titles in her legendary run. No. 17 was a 4-3 win over Oakmont last year.
Ninety seconds into the second half, senior Maddie Leitner connected for a 3-0 cushion, the first of of her two goals. Poulin scored again before Oakmont (16-4-0) finally broke through on a tally from senior Maddie Moran, just the fifth goal yielded this season by Watertown senior Jonna Kennedy, who is headed to Boston College.
And three came in the Raiders’ lone loss, to Winchester, in the second game of the season.
Kennedy, Leitner, and Poulin depart with four state titles, and one career loss.
“We’re going to treasure this,” Donahue said.
“We had to keep improving as each game went on throughout the season. We had to keep pushing to work harder,” Donahue said, proudly pointing out that the Raiders played “all out” the entire way.
“It took us awhile during the season to get to this point, but isn’t it great that they were able to get there for this?” she mused.
Said Leitner, “It’s so important to work hard, that’s what this program is all about.”
“We’re very fortunate,” Donahue said, echoing the gratitude she expressed with every win this season. “There are so many talented teams in Massachusetts, and I’m very happy for my team.”
Andover 2, Longmeadow 0 — Once again, defense ruled. Recording their third straight shutout, and 12th of the season, the Golden Warriors (21-0-1) captured their first state title since 2011.
Just over a minute into the second half of a scoreless game at WPI, freshman Hanna Medwar scored off of a penalty corner, assisted by captain Kate Gregory.
“[The players] figured out that [Longmeadow] was letting them play it out and we had to step up and be a little more aggressive in the second half,” said Andover coach Maureen Noone. “Waiting and holding back for the perfect play just wasn’t happening.”
Medwar, said Noone, emerged as a contributor throughout her first season. “Every time I think her legs are ‘achey-breaky’ and she can’t do it anymore, she steps up and does something else. She never quits,” added the coach.
With 20 minutes remaining, senior Julia Carzo capitalized on a Lancer turnover on their own side of the field, leading to an insurance goal.
“We were trying to get as many corners as we could because I know that can wear people down, running back to the 50 over and over again, somebody is going to make a mistake,” said Noone.
Gregory said the Golden Warriors were “just so excited to be here and ready, and I think we brought it all.”
More photos from Winslow TownsonCorrespondent Ryan Stolz also reported from WPI.