It took only 39 seconds for the Danvers field hockey team to snatch momentum in Tuesday night’s Northeastern Conference showdown against Gloucester.
Jenna Lowd gathered the ball deep in the circle and shot it into the back of the net to give the Falcons a quick lead, and that goal stood as the game winner as the Falcons left Newell Stadium with a 3-0 victory.
“We moved the ball really well and it is always great to get a goal that early, especially against a team like Gloucester that has been a powerhouse in the conference,” Danvers head coach Jill McGinnity said. “It was a little more back and forth from there but I was really happy with the way we played, this was a good win.”
With the win, Danvers moves to 3-0 with its third straight shutout victory, all over NEC competition, to open up the 2019 season.
Gloucester, on the other hand, falls to 0-2.
“I think that we played decent at certain times and we certainly have a lot to work on,” Gloucester head coach Lauren Riley Gove said. “Our defense is a little green early in the season and Danvers is a team with a lot of talent and experience, kind of like we were last season.”
The early goal had Gloucester back on its heels in the early going, and the Falcons were able to capitalize again at the 10 minute mark with Grace Brinkley ripped a shot inside the right post from the top of the circle to give her team a commanding, 2-0 lead.
“That second one was really important, especially with the way Gloucester came back and played the rest of the way,” McGinnity said.
From there, Gloucester settled down a bit and possession was back and forth for the remaining 20 minutes of the first half.
Danvers, however, still dominated in quality scoring chances, and if not for Gloucester goalie Mia Wheeler, who made 10 saves, Danvers could have extended its lead in the first half.
Wheeler’s best save came late in the first half on a partial breakaway, where the goalie made a sprawling stop with her right pad after aggressively coming out of the net to cut down any angle.
Wheeler’s save saw Danvers go into the half with a 2-0 edge.
In the second half, Gloucester started to put on a little more pressure with more sustained possessions and better ball movement in the middle of the field. But the Falcons defense, led by Caitlin Hess and goalie Brigid Churchill, kept Gloucester off the board.
“Sometimes the defensive side of the field can go unnoticed,” McGinnity said. “Caitlin Hess did a great job back there, especially in the second half when Gloucester came back and started pressuring us.”
Gloucester’s best chance came on a penalty stroke in the final 15 minutes, but the shot went wide. Danvers survived another flurry a short time later and then put the game away on a goal from Emma Thibodeau, who tricked a shot past the goal line on a scrum in front of the Gloucester goal to extend the lead to 3-0.
“Danvers is a really good team and they played well tonight,” Riley Gove said. “They had more chances and capitalized on them. We didn’t capitalize on ours. We are going to go back to practice and start brushing up on our fundamentals.”