Watertown took a two-goal lead in the first half, but Winchester put the ball in the back the net with under three minutes to go to make a tense ending in the MIAA North Section Div. 2 field hockey semifinal Friday night in Reading.
Allie Doggett put No. 1 seed Watertown (20-0) into the lead nine minutes into the first half, and Kayla Johnson doubled the lead with seven minutes left in the first half.
The No. 5 Sachems (16-4-1) pressured the three-time defending state champs much of the second half, and senior co-captain Emily Savage scored off a scramble in front of the goal with just under three minutes left in the game.
Watertown coach Eileen Donohue called timeout right after the Winchester goal to organize her team.
“We weren’t going to focus on that goal,” Donohue said. “We were going to focus on what we needed to do, and we needed to keep the ball on the side away from them, away from the attack and getting any balls down field.”
The tally ended up being to little too late, as Watertown was able to run out the clock and move onto the North Section Div. 2 final Monday at 11 a.m. in North Andover against the winner of Saturday’s game between Swampscott and Manchester-Essex.
Winchester coach Michelle White said her team did well the second half, but could not get past the undefeated Raiders.
“Our second half was certainly better than our first half,” White said. “We were just saying, there hasn’t been a team in the state that has been able to beat them in the second half and we beat them, but the second half wasn’t the whole game. We needed the first 30 minutes to get us over the hump.”
Watertown may not have lost in four seasons, but the game provided good experience for Donohue’s players, many of whom have little tournament experience.
“It’s a brand new group and a lot of them have not experienced tournament play," Donohue said. "And they are learning how it is a lot different from a regular season game."
The Sachems will have some rebuilding to do next year, as White says goodbye to 12 seniors.