Abby Gramar (21) protects the ball and cuts towards the cage late in the first half.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Dover-Sherborn and Medfield varsity field hockey teams met for the first of two times this 2019 season on Friday afternoon. The Raiders (2-0-0) entered looking to make it two straight wins to start the year, following a 4-1 season-opening victory against Medway last Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Warriors (0-2-0) came into their home-opener still in search of their first win under new head coach Allison Driscoll, following a 3-1 defeat at Hopkinton on Wednesday.
Behind a pair of goals by senior captain Payton Ahola, the Raiders strung together a dominant second half to pull away for a 5-0 victory.
Despite DS dominating time of possession throughout the first half, as well as receiving seven penalty corner bids, the game remained scoreless with six minutes remaining before halftime. Eight times appeared to be the charm for the Raiders, as Abby Gramar batted home a rebound of a penalty corner during a net-mouth scramble to give DS a 1-0 advantage. A pair of big kick saves by sophomore goalie Elizabeth Crowley in the final two minutes kept the deficit at a single goal for Medfield at the half.
The story of the second half was the play of Payton Ahola, who scored two goals in the first 1:38 to open up a comfortable three-goal lead for the Raiders. Just 27 seconds in, Ahola broke in off the opening whistle and fired home a shot through a pair of Medfield defenders to make it 2-0. Following the ensuing restart at midfield, Ahola launched home a cannon through a screen with 38:22 remaining to make it 3-0.
DS locked down the middle of the field the rest of the way, preventing Medfield from generating offense and forcing the Warriors to navigate to the outside. The Raiders added a pair of goals in the final four minutes to prevail by the 5-0 final.
DS will look to keep the momentum rolling when the Raiders host Hopkinton on September 13, while Medfield will look to get on track against Bishop Fenwick. The two rivals will meet again at DS on October 21.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.