By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
While there may not be any moral victories in losing, there are certainly plenty of silver-linings. For one, it is better to lose during the last week of the regular season with your playoff spot already securely intact than having the same fate in the early rounds of the MIAA state tournament.
For the Westwood High varsity field hockey team, Friday’s contest against Norwood is a prime learning experience. Entering the day at 15-0-2, the Wolverines needed either a win or tie to secure an unbeaten regular season and potentially earn a top-three seed in the Division I South playoffs.
Unfortunately, Westwood’s offense had the clamps put down on them by a stifling and tough Norwood backfield. The Mustangs (12-5-1, 10-4-1) held the Wolverines scoreless through one half before Molly Mannering’s goal off of a penalty corner with 19:35 to play gave Norwood a 1-0 lead.
Westwood called a timeout to try and settle things down and draft up a response plan, but Norwood’s strong defensive play made offensive generation nearly impossible for the Wolverines. Westwood received a series of penalty corners in the game’s final seven minutes, all of which were either blocked or cleared. Norwood fought off the late rally attempt as the clock hit zeroes and the Mustangs pulled off the 1-0 upset, concluding the regular season for both teams.
On Monday, Westwood received the No. 4 seed in Division I South. Meanwhile, Norwood received the No. 13 seed and will host Attleboro on Halloween in the preliminary round. As fate would have it, Westwood’s first round contest will be against the winner of Norwood/Attleboro on November 2, so anticipate some potential added motivation for the Wolverines this week as they prepare for the playoffs.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.