Senior goaltender Kiera McInerney (pictured) will look to be an anchor in net for the top-seeded Walpole High girls hockey team as they embark on their quest for the Division II state championship in the coming weeks. Photos by Michael Flanagan
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The 2018-2019 Walpole High girls varsity hockey team has sneakily become a wagon.
Much thanks to the play in net from senior goaltender Kiera McInerney, as well as a steady dosage of offense production from senior forwards Audra Tosone and Meghan Hamilton, the Lady-Rebels (16-3-1) ended their regular season on a four-game winning streak to earn themselves the No. 1 seed in the Division II South Sectionals.
The turning point of Walpole’s season came on February 2 when Braintree defeated the Lady-Rebs, 3-1, at Rodman Arena to claim the Herget Division title. While the loss hurt, it seemed to light a fire under the Walpole girls, who closed out the season with four consecutive wins, outscoring their opposition 14-2 in that span.
Coming off a season in which they finished just 9-9-3 and squeaked their way into the tournament, it’s safe to say that 2018-2019 has represented a huge turnaround for the Walpole girls.
According to McInerney, the Lady-Rebels are out for more than just a successful regular season and will look to use the strong finish to their regular season as fuel for the state tournament.
“Our team has responded by realizing that we only have to keep working and not give up at any time,” said McInerney. “We plan on carrying that momentum by taking it one shift at a time and conquer that before looking at the bigger things.”
McInerney emphasizes that in order to be successful in this tournament, the Walpole girls need to take things on a shift-by-shift basis and that they cannot get ahead of themselves.
“Just taking it one period and one shift at a time is our main goal when it comes to be successful,” said McInerney. “Focusing on the basics and sticking together before we try to do anything beyond that will be a main emphasis for us.”
The Walpole girls will enjoy their bye and prepare to take on the winner of No. 17 Winchester and No. 16 Archbishop Williams in the first round later this week.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.