D-II Field Hockey Tournament: Geodes, Avalon lift Derryfield past Goffstown, 1-0

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MANCHESTER, NH — Derryfield School hadn’t been playing its best field hockey heading into the D-II State Tournament. The team limped across the finish line of the regular season with losses to Lebanon (2-1) and Kennett (3-0).

Fortunately for the Cougars, they rediscovered their game when it mattered most.

Kira Geddes scored a third-quarter goal and goalie Jessica Avalon turned aside six shots to lift No. 6 Derryfield past No. 11 Goffstown, 1-0, in the opening round of the tournament, Wednesday afternoon.

The Cougars advance to take on No. 3 Portsmouth (7-0 over Sanborn) in a quarterfinal contest, Saturday on the seacoast.

“It’s survival at this point and I think all the coaches are looking at it the same way,” said Derryfield Coach Kelsey Federico.

Goffstown and Derryfield had met early in the regular season, with the Cougars coasting to a 5-2 victory in a wide-open contest. As often happens come tournament time, defense dominated Wednesday’s playoff game. Neither team was willing to take too many chances and quality scoring bids were tough to come by.

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The Derryfield defense, led by sweeper Kenzie Miller, frustrated the Goffstown forwards time and again, providing Avalon with sold protection throughout the game.

“They did awesome. We work on that a lot, we stress that,” said Federico. “And this is the point that our backs and our defensive unit comes in handy, when it comes to having a shutout, especially in a playoff game.”

After a sluggish first half, Derryfield came out on the attack in the third quarter and earned a penalty corner just 30 seconds in. Midfielder Kennedy Overhoff put the ball in play with a perfect pass to Geddes at the top of the circle. Geddes settled the ball quickly and rifled a low line drive that whistled through a screen and found the back of the cage for her 19th goal of the season.

A short time later, Geddes nearly doubled the lead, but her vicious backhand was kicked out by Goffstown goalie Molly Braica.


But it would turn out that Derryfield wouldn’t need the insurance goal. What scoring chances Goffstown did manage were turned aside by Avalon, Derryfield’s talented sophomore goalie. The Grizzlies’ best offensive stretch came in the third period. Trailing 1-0, they buzzed the pressed the attack and had the Cougars on their heels for three minutes. Avalon made stellar back-to-back saves on bids by Nora Erwin and Kendall Dubois. Later, off a penalty corner, she made a kick save on a shot by Avery Brisiel.

“I told (our players) at the end of the game, that’s one of the things that a consistent goalie will do for you. She’ll make the saves that she is supposed to make and keep you in the game,” said Federico, a former goalie for UMass Lowell.

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About this Author

Bill Gilman

Bill Gilman is a veteran journalist with 35 years of experience covering community news and sports in New England. He and his wife have two grown sons and two perfect granddaughters.