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June 15, 2021 — Field hockey: Games of the Year, 2020-21

This list of games for the field hockey season just past was one which had a smaller number of games overall, reflecting the shortened schedules of individual teams. But you’ll notice that a number of games on this list turned on individual brilliance from top players coming through for their teams in key situations.

10. Kingston Wyoming Seminary 1, Exeter Wyoming Area 0, 2 OT
Nov. 2, 2020
PIAA District 2 Class A final
District 2 has been a great incubator of PIAA state champions over the years, but what was known during this COVID-19 season was that only one 2-A team could make the state bracket. It took a double-overtime goal from sophomore Ella Barbacci to decide this game, sending the Blue Knights to a tournament which they would win three weeks later

9. Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.) 1, Haddon Township (N.J.) 0, OT
Nov. 21, 2020
NJSIAA Southwest Class A final
Middle Township, whose home hockey ground overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, has been in the headwaters for state championship honors for some time. But in 2021, the team was able to finally win a terminal contest (albeit for a sectional title) thanks to a goal from Hannah Urbaczewski in overtime

8. Palmyra (Pa.) 2, Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 1, OT
Nov. 21, 2020
PIAA Class AA final
Palmyra, one of the finest programs out of central Pennsylvania, had it all to do against Carroll, the first District 12 school ever to make into the PIAA field hockey final. The Cougars were able to put all of their guile and experience to good use to win in extra time

7. Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 1, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 0
Apr. 12, 2021
VHSL Region 5A quarterfinal
In any other year, Cox and First Colonial would likely have been placed at opposite ends of the bracket, which would have given both teams an opportunity to advance to an eight-team state tournament. But with the VHSL making its field hockey tournament a single-elimination event and with restrictions on travel in place, this latest edition of the Mill Dam Creek Classic was put in the first round of the regional tournament. Nevertheless, the game lived up to its billing. It took a Quin Braithwaite goal in the third quarter to put Cox through to the semifinal round

6. Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) 4, East Chapel Hill (N.C.) 3, OT
Dec. 17, 2019
NCHSAA fall final
In a truncated state championship tournament featuring teams from the East Region, a dramatic game was ended by an equally dramatic goal. In the third minute of overtime, attacking midfielder Elle Freedman curled into the circle, spun, then cracked a backhander into the goal

5. Fredericksburg Stafford (Va.) 3, Leesburg Riverside 2, 2 OT
Apr. 20, 2021
VHSL Class 5 semifinal
Stafford, a school which has tasted state championship glory before, was down two to Riverside before two fourth-quarter goals leveled the match. A thrill-a-minute overtime period ensued, one which ended less than three minutes from time

4. East Greenwich (R.I.) 1, Providence La Salle Academy (R.I.) 0, OT
Nov. 21, 2021
RIIL Division 1 final
La Salle was able to bottle up East Greenwich, the defending state champions, for 60 minutes of regulation. But when reduced-side overtime began, it gave a lot of openings for attack-minded players. Players such as Alexandra Mega, the sophomore who showed an amazing array of skills throughout regulation. She saved her best effort for last, running 65 yards through the La Salle defense and depositing the ball over the goal line

3. St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 1, St. Louis John Burroughs (Mo.) 0, OT
Nov. 2, 2020
Midwest Tournament final
Villa Duchesne found its heroine in its best player, Taryn Tkachuk. Her backhander under the crossbar in overtime provided the Saints with the championship despite having to play with a wrapped hamstring

2. Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.) 2, Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) 1, OT
Nov. 12, 2020
PIAA District 3 Class AAA final
In terms of history, these two schools, located about nine miles apart, are as different as chalk and cheese. Lower Dauphin, a team with a Hall-of-Fame coach as well as several state titles, was a state finalist as recently as 2019, losing in a penalty shootout. Central Dauphin, for its part, had never won a District 3 title. But the team had a once-in-a-generation scorer named Hope Rose. She had both goals in the District final which put the Rams into the state tournament bracket. Her game-winner in overtime was a thundering 60-yard run which culminated in an angled shot that went in

1. Concord Bishop Brady (N.H.) 2, Canaan Mascoma Valley (N.H.) 1, OT
Oct. 29, 2020
NHISAA Division III semifinal/final
The drama in this contest comes directly from the title of this game. Mascoma Valley had the lead in the final minute of a semifinal match against Bishop Brady, but the Giants would tie the game on an untimed corner at the end of regulation. During the five-minute period between regulation and overtime, word spread to the teams of a circumstance that could only occur during this global pandemic. That same afternoon, a player from the winning Berlin (N.H.) team on the other semifinal match in Division III tested positive for COVID-19. This meant that the entire Berlin team would have to quarantine for several days, meaning that Berlin would not be able to participate in the state final scheduled for that week. That made the Mascoma Valley-Bishop Brady game the de facto state final. This put an enormous amount of importance on the overtime, which Hallie Laramie ended five minutes into the extra session

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