Div. 4 field hockey: Sutton rallies from early deficit, edges Frontier 2-1 in state quarterfinals (PHOTOS)

Frontier’s Rowan Reilly (23), right, battles for the ball with Emma Laveille (6) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Rowan Reilly (23), right, battles for the ball with Emma Laveille (6) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Kate Walker (2), left, tries to knock the ball away from Sutton’s Maeve Rogan (2) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Kate Walker (2), left, tries to knock the ball away from Sutton’s Maeve Rogan (2) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Ashley Taylor (6), right, battles for possession with Sutton’s Leah Medeiros (4) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Ashley Taylor (6), right, battles for possession with Sutton’s Leah Medeiros (4) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Rowan Reilly (23), right, chases after Sutton’s Emma Laveille (6) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Rowan Reilly (23), right, chases after Sutton’s Emma Laveille (6) during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Madison McKemmie (10) carries the ball through the Sutton midfield during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Madison McKemmie (10) carries the ball through the Sutton midfield during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Stella Heflin (9), left, and Sutton’s Emma Laveille (6) jockey for possession during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Stella Heflin (9), left, and Sutton’s Emma Laveille (6) jockey for possession during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Abbi Grover (16), right, tries to keep the ball away from a Sutton defender during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton.

Frontier’s Abbi Grover (16), right, tries to keep the ball away from a Sutton defender during the host Suzies’ 2-1 win in the MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal round on Saturday in Sutton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer

Published: 11-11-2023 3:25 PM

Modified: 11-11-2023 3:25 PM


SUTTON – The Frontier field hockey team shot out of the gates like a rocket for the opening 10 minutes of Saturday’s MIAA Division 4 quarterfinal. The 12th-seeded Redhawks had a lead, and looked primed for more.

But No. 4 Sutton didn’t let in a second goal, which would have put the Suzies firmly behind the eight-ball. Instead, the hosts answered right before halftime and found the game winner in the third quarter, ultimately holding off a late Frontier charge for a 2-1 victory and a spot in the Division 4 Final Four.

Sutton (16-3-2) will play top-seeded Uxbridge (20-1) in the state semifinals on a date and time to be determined.

Frontier finished its season 11-7-4, reaching the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

“To only have a 1-0 lead after the way we started the game, we knew we were going to need another goal,” Frontier coach Missy Mahar said. “The game wasn’t going to end 1-0, we were going to be fighting until the end. It obviously would’ve been nice to find a second goal early when we had the majority of possession.”

Indeed it was a dream start for the Redhawks, which pounced after Sutton’s Leah Medeiros was sent off for a green card with 8:20 left in the first quarter. Just 13 seconds later, the visitors struck for the game’s first goal when Kate Walker popped in a bounding ball near the back post to make it 1-0.

It was familiar territory for Sutton, which trailed 1-0 against Greenfield the previous round before ultimately rallying and snagging a 2-1 overtime win.

“Resiliency is the word that’s kind of been our mantra this year,” Sutton coach Sarah Bellavance said. “We didn’t panic (down 1-0) because we’ve been there before. We were down against Greenfield 1-0, Hopedale scored first against us in the central Mass. championship game… we were able to stay composed.”

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Still, Frontier looked poised to carry its 1-0 advantage into halftime. Sutton had other ideas however, as Medeiros finished a back-breaking goal with just 21 seconds remaining before intermission. Frontier goalie Kyra Richards (four saves) made back-to-back saves from point-blank range, but Medeiros powered opportunity No. 3 into the back of the cage to draw level at the half.

“To go from 1-0 to 1-1 there, that’s definitely unfortunate,” Mahar admitted. “It’s a different game at that point, but we went into halftime just telling the girls that it’s back to square one. It’s zero-zero, we’ve been in games like this the entire tournament so it’s not an unfamiliar spot that we’ve found ourselves in.”

Bellavance said the last-second tally before halftime was just what the Suzies needed.

“There’s that urgency factor that we’ve talked about,” Bellevance said. “It was a first-to-the-ball situation and we were finally able to break through. Hats off to Frontier, in particular their back line was so solid that we didn’t have a lot of opportunities. We had to make the most of the ones we got.”

Sutton broke the tie with what turned into the game-winning goal 7:07 into the third quarter. Camryn Kinne started the play with a wrist shot through traffic, and Allison Dasilva was there to tip it through a scrum of players. Dasilva’s goal put the hosts up 2-1.

“Sutton was relentless,” Mahar said.

Frontier pushed for the equalizer into the fourth quarter. Ashley Taylor’s shot on a penalty corner was kicked away early in the final period by Sutton keeper Allison Hastings (eight saves), and while the Hawks drew a couple of corners late in regulation, they were unable to successfully generate pressure.

Frontier held a 9-6 edge in shots on goal, and a 7-2 penalty corner advantage.

“It’s the state tournament and those are the opportunities that make or break your season,” Mahar said of the ineffective penalty corners down the stretch. “We weren’t able to take advantage of those opportunities in the critical moments.”

Seniors Madison McKemmie and Hailey Hutkoski played their final games for the Redhawks, and Mahar lauded their contributions over the course of lengthy varsity careers.

“They’ve both been in the program since middle school and they’ve been nothing but a pleasure to coach,” she said. “Both were great teammates and I couldn’t ask for anything more from them.”

The loss capped a stellar season for Frontier, which began its 2023 campaign 0-2-2 but turned things on down the stretch en route to a Western Mass. Class C title and a spot in the state quarters.

“We’re still pushing and trying to have a Western Mass. team get to the Final Four in Division 4,” Mahar said. “I think that time will come sooner than later.”