Field Hockey Championship: Eagles Dethrone Avengers On Overtime Goal

Kelly Dolan netted a goal in the second overtime Tuesday night to lift Barrington to a thrilling 1-0 victory over defending D-1 state champion East Greenwich.

Until the day they die, every member of both teams will remember having been part of this contest.

Junior Kelly Dolan netted a “golden” goal with 5:46 remaining in the second (and sudden-death) overtime period to lift the Barrington Field Hockey team to a scintillating 1-0 victory over East Greenwich in the championship match of the RIIL’s Division I state playoffs Tuesday night at Cranston Stadium.

Dolan’s game-ending score came after the Eagles (16-1-2) and defending state champion Avengers (13-4-3) battled through 74:14 of scoreless, yet exhilarating play in a contest which featured spectacular defense, energetic rushes, high drama, countless heroics and endless sensational efforts, all in front of a large and emotionally charged crowd which hung on edge right to the end. Indeed, as trite as it may sound, neither squad deserved to lose in this titanic struggle matching the past two Division I state championship programs.

It all came to an abrupt ending 4:14 into the second extra period, both of which were played with the teams restricted to seven players (down from 11 in regulation time). After firing wide on two penalty corners earlier in the session, Barrington finally capitalized at the end of a three-on-two rush.

Dolan passed to her sister, Libby Dolan, whose initial shot was kicked out by Avenger keeper Alexandra Leveillee (9 saves). Taylor Rideout followed with a rebound try, which Leveillee also rejected, before Kelly Dolan converted a third shot for the state title score.

“We had a breakaway on the right and Libby shot, the Taylor shot, and the ball bounced to me,” Kelly Dolan said. “I was able to push it in.”

Dolan’s goal ignited a raucous on-field celebration by the Eagles and elicited an equally joyous response from Barrington’s large contingent of supporters on hand, while the even-larger East Greenwich turnout graciously applauded the efforts of its players. Moments later, Barrington Coach Lee-Ann Markowski reflected on the Eagles’ seventh Division I state crown and their fourth in the past seven seasons.

“East Greenwich has a great team and we just had to hold our breath the whole way,” said Markowski. “We had opportunities and I think we played very well. In a game like this, it just comes down to who gets a lucky bounce and puts the ball in.”

East Greenwich Coach Debra McMullen was magnanimous in defeat.

“We just couldn’t make enough plays today,” she said. “Our defense played unbelievably well, but they were tested way too much during the entire game. We just didn’t have enough opportunities.”

Indeed, the Avengers were out-shot in the contest by a 10-3 margin and Barrington enjoyed an 11-3 advantage in penalty corners. However, EG nearly scored in the first half – an apparent goal was negated by a violation – and carried the action in the first overtime, a 10-minute session.

Early in the period, EG’s Jamie Fugere shot wide from 10 yards out and shortly thereafter, Caroline Neupauer’s try from 15 yards away was kicked out by Eagle keeper Sophie Faxon (who made 3 saves Tuesday night and posted three successive playoff shutouts). Moments later, Marielle Kraft blistered a tough-angle shot which rolled through the goal mouth and out of danger.

The teams battled through an entertaining first half highlighted by non-stop action, but few solid scoring chances. Faxon turned aside shots by Neupauer and Meghan Windle, while Levaillee thwarted two shots by Mary Coogan.

The Eagles asserted control through most of the second half, forcing Levaillee to kick out three shots by Kelly Dolan and two by Rideout.

At the conclusion of the match, East Greenwich and Barrington received individual medallions and playoff runner-up and championship trophies, respectively, from RIIL Field Hockey Director Jean Angell during an on-field ceremony. With disappointment etched on their faces, co-captains Katie Sloat and Taylor Christie proudly accepted the runner-up trophy for the Avengers before the victorious Eagles received their awards.

While specifically praising EG’s defense – especially Levaillee, Phoebe Hughes, Keri Pallister, Liz Colavita and Julia Elson – McMullen offered plaudits for her entire squad.

“A year ago, I thought we had a chance to get back (to the championship match),” McMullen said. “I’m proud of the way our players have persevered, came together, got better and had a lot of fun doing it.”

Edward November 11, 2011 at 04:17 AM
@EG Member, Your statement is a sad representation of your life. It was an amazing game, but it wasn't something that's going to impact their life - as the article implies - when they're 40 years old. Listen to Springsteen; I think he sang a song about people who relive their high school days too much.
Allie Leveillee November 14, 2011 at 10:39 PM
I am the East Greenwich goal keeper and I will remember this game for the rest of my life. I am proud of our season and the final game we played. We fought it out, and something that we put so much passion, time, and dedication into is something that I could never forget. I do not think that people realize how much it takes to get as far as we did and I could never thank my amazing team and coaches enough. I will always remember EGFH for the love we shared for eachother, the will to fight when nobody believed in us, and the success we celebrated
Elizabeth McNamara November 14, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Thanks for sharing, Allie. It does sound your team - and you in particular - played a great game.
Kathleen O'Rourke November 15, 2011 at 05:13 PM
I would not want to put words into the mouths of each of these players, but knowing most of them and having watched them over the last few years build themselves into a strong team, I would be willing to bet on these "exaggerated" words. Just as a high schooler making a poor choice that lands them in trouble can be a pivotal experience, remembered till age forty, this game, for these girls, was a culmination of very hard work, sacrifice and dedication. It is that spirit which will indeed be what they remember, and draw upon, for the rest of their lives; as they move on after high school, to college, careers, parenthood. I applaud their coach and their commitment to their sport as well as to the commitment they have had with each other, because they made the hard choices again and again to get them to that championship game. I'm proud of you girls!
EGFH December 07, 2011 at 03:06 AM
This is a tad late coming but I just stumbled across this article: I completely agree with Allie and Mrs. O'Rourke; we will never forget this game, but I don't think a patch sports article hater would understand the passion we all felt during this championship. Based on Edward's comment on the Barrington patch's edition of this article, he clearly has a bone to pick with Christopher Shott, but it is not the place of anyone who does not know East Greenwich Field Hockey the way the players and parents do to judge the extent of our passion for this team. I played in this game and although I realize that I am not going to look back in 23 years and see high school as the peak of my life, I can certainly say that yes, I will remember this game until the day I die.


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