by Dakota Antelman
Field Hockey notched their fourth win of the season on senior night on Monday night against Assabet. The win, however, came in an unfamiliar setting for the Hawks — the Morgan Bowl.
The game, which Hudson won in comeback fashion by a score of 2-1, was the first such game in six years to take place in Hudson’s sports stadium. As the Hawks walked out with the win, coaches and players agreed the setting made the game special.
“This is the best game I’ve ever played in,” said senior goalie Buffy Cautela. “I had people watching me. It was crazy. My name was announced under the lights. This was unbelievable. I couldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was amazing.”
Things started off on what Cautela called a “sour” note, however, for Hudson. Despite dominating possession of the ball for much of the first half, Hudson conceded the first goal of the game to Assabet’s Sefora Mejia with just under 15 minutes remaining in the first half.
Mejia was able to get behind Hudson’s defense and redirect a rebound off Cautela and into the net.
Though Hudson threatened to tie the game once just moments after the shot, and again in a flurry of activity in the final seconds of the half, they entered halftime trailing 1-0.
“I think we could have played better in the first half than we did,” said Coach Jennifer Wallingford. “I think there might have been some jitters.”
Wallingford’s goalie, Cautela, added that she worked during halftime to warm herself back up after a first half where she faced few shots aside from Mejia’s goal-scoring shot.
“I had a little bit of an easy goal go in at the beginning,” she said. “I’m not used to not having shots. So I had a slow start, but I got back in. We warmed up during halftime, and I was good to go after halftime.”
Cautela regularly faced upwards of 30 shots in games earlier in the season. She saw just 12 come her way Monday, however, as her defense largely stifled an Aztec offense that had only scored twice all season prior to their game against Hudson.
In addition to the defense, the Hudson offense finally broke through with just over 10 minutes left in the game when Lydia Beatty scored for the Hawks. Hudson struck again less than four minutes later, taking the lead on a goal by Shannon Bonner.
In beating Assabet, Wallingford noted that Hudson beat a much larger team than themselves. Thanks partially to recent injuries, and, more so, to a small roster to begin with, Hudson played the game with just one substitute. Assabet, meanwhile, had a much larger bench allowing them to rotate players in and out of the game while Wallingford was often forced to simply rotate her players through different positions.
“A lot of times we have to make do,” she said. “That’s what we did tonight. I’m glad Hudson got pumped up enough to come back in the second half.”
With the game behind her, Wallingford sees a potential for field hockey both in the Morgan Bowl and on possible future athletic facilities on the HHS campus.
“I maintain that we’re the only team in the school that should be playing on turf,” she said. “When we get turf, if we get turf, I want field hockey to have priority because the ball moves the way it’s supposed to when the field is as flat as possible.”
The playing surface was, in fact, one of the reasons she did not push for a field hockey return to the Morgan Bowl sooner. Prior to Monday’s game, Wallingford said, she feared the grass would inhibit her players’ ability to move the ball cleanly.
But, after the game, one which drew fans to field hockey in numbers players like Cautela had not seen before, Wallingford said she might be warming to the idea of the Morgan Bowl as a field hockey venue.
“We made it happen,” she said. “Everybody seems to be pretty happy about the way the ball moved on this field, so maybe we’ll play more here next year.”