By Jean DePlacido
---- — BEVERLY — The Gloucester field hockey team started off the season in style last week with a shutout win over Revere. In Monday’s second game of the season against Beverly, however, the Fishermen ran into a buzz saw in the form of the defending Northeastern Co.
Following a rare loss over the weekend, the Beverly team made sure it didn’t become two in a row yesterday.
The Panthers scored early and often to notch their third win of the young season, 7-0, over visiting Gloucester at the Beverly High turf field.
Senior Mary Cate Flaherty scored three times in the first half as the hosts built up a commanding lead. Flaherty had scored the first goal of her career last week and followed it up with a terrific performance yesterday.
Six Panthers figured in the scoring, and everybody saw plenty of action. Flaherty opened the scoring after taking a pass from Kate Silvestri, and then made it a 2-0 game on a great setup by Nicole Woods.
After Kate Silvestri put one in the back of the net at the 18:58 mark (with Allison Sheehan assisting), Flaherty notched her first hat trick after taking a perfect pass from Silvestri.
“I had a lot of good shooting opportunities today,” said Flaherty. “Our whole team is really connecting and creating scoring chances. We had a couple of very close games against tough teams, and I think it helped us.”
Coach Trish Murphy is delighted to see Flaherty scoring for the Panthers, who are now 3-1. The lone loss came at perennial state powerhouse Walpole, 3-1, this past weekend.
“Mary Cate came out really strong today. Seeing her scoring goals is a good sign for us,” said Murphy. “She set a goal for herself to score, and it’s important for us as a team to have her contribute to the offense the way she has been.
“We’re coming off two very competitive non-league games (Beverly beat North Andover last week), and I think they helped us a lot. Nicole Woods, Silvestri and Flaherty did a great job in the first half.”
Woods scored a highlight film goal with 12 minutes left in the first half. She made a nifty move around a Gloucester defender to get a better look at the goal, then uncorked a hard shot into the left corner of the net that goalie Deyanna Foley had no chance to stop.
Four minutes later Sheehan took a pass from Molly Pitman and converted to make it 6-0.
“Beverly is strong, but we expected that,” said Gloucester (1-1) coach Lauren Riley.
Murphy went to her bench after the sixth goal. The Fishermen weren’t able to put much pressure on Beverly goalie Felicity Otterbein in the first half, but Gabby Cerrio (who took over in net after halftime) came up with a couple of gems to preserve the shutout, making four saves. She denied Kayla Nasser, then came up big on a corner opportunity as Gloucester was able to get its offense going.
Beverly’s Grace Otterbein scored an unassisted goal late in the game against Gloucester backup goalie Jordan Westling, who took over late in the first half.
“Our defense did a nice job stopping them before the ball got into our end,” said Murphy. “I put Sheehan back on defense and she played well. “I’m really pleased with the way we’ve started the season.”