Greenwich Academy and Sacred Heart Greenwich’s journey to the NEPSAC Class A Field Hockey Tournament finals came to an end in Saturday’s semifinal-round.
Both squads suffered heartbreaking losses. Third-seeded Sacred Heart was edged by second-seeded Hotchkiss School, 2-1, in overtime, while fourth-seeded Greenwich Academy — the defending NEPSAC Class A champion — lost to top-seeded Phillips Andover Academy, 2-1.
Holding a 1-0 lead, the Tigers were 20 seconds away from a spot in Sunday’s championship game at Choate Rosemary Hall. But host Hotchkiss tallied the equalizer with 20 seconds remaining in regulation, then scored the game-winning goal in the 7 vs. 7 overtime session.
Hotchkiss and Andover will meet in Sunday’s NEPSAC Class A final at 2 p.m.
In the Sacred Heart-Hotchkiss game, following a scoreless first half, Ellie Manriquez gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Her goal came at the 13:25 mark of the second half.
After the Bearcats knotted the score at 1-1 with the late goal, they notched the game-winner with 8:24 left in overtime. Olivia Caponiti had six saves in goal for Sacred Heart, which lost only two games all season. Amanda Hill had five saves for Hotchkiss.
“We were fighting for every single ball in the beginning and Hotchkiss stood strong and kept up with us, being physical and aggressive,” Tigers coach Alex Gheorghe said. “With 20 seconds left, Hotchkiss had a free hit in the middle of the field and played the long ball, deflecting it in the cage. In overtime, we were still in shock from the late goal. They had a penalty corner and were able to slip the ball in. We congratulate the team on a tremendous season. Our seniors were outstanding leaders.”
In Greenwich Academy’s game against Phillips Andover, in what was a rematch of last season’s final, won by GA Julia Freedman gave the Gators an early 1-0 lead.
Freedman scored with 26:37 remaining in the opening half. Lila Murray assisted on the goal. The Gators outshot Andover, 9-7, and drew six penalty corner opportunities.
Phillips Andover had 10 penalty corners. Hamilton Doster made five saves in goal for Greenwich Academy, which lost just three games on the season.
“We started out the game strong and played confident,” GA coach Jamie Brower said. “Our corner execution was lacking again today. It was a physical game and I think we did well handling the pressure. We had some very nice passing and Andover played a nice second half.”
Greenwich Academy, which has played Andover in the NEPSAC tourney the past several seasons, including when they topped them in the finals in 2017, capped its season with a record of 16-3.
“It is a bummer to end the season this way, but with only one senior graduating we look forward to building on the foundation from this year and coming back next year.”