Field hockey falls in playoff, 4-0

U-32 displayed skillful tackling, well-connected passing and balanced scoring while dispatching Milton 4-0 in Friday’s Division II field hockey quarterfinal.

The No. 2 Raiders dominated the first half and took a 3-0 lead into the break.

Abby Daniels scored first for U-32 at 21:57. She was assisted by Stacy Woolaver, who took the ball away from a Milton defender along the end line, headed to the goal and fired a shot that deflected out in front of the cage.

Daniels and Woolaver switched roles to produce the Raiders’ second goal at 10:48. Wolaver sent the rebound of Daniels shot into the back of the cage.

Emily Graves was foiled in an attempt to make it 3-0 two minutes later by Milton goalie Amanda Coulombe’s close-range save.

Milton dodged another Raider goal at the nine-minute mark. With Coulombe committed and out of position, defender Emma Pixler covered the goal line and swept away a promising shot by Woolaver.

U-32 kept the Milton defense on its heels with repeated tackles in the midfield and crisp passes to teammates who carried the ball back toward the striking circle.

Graves, assisted by Austen Gillen-Keeney, fired home the Raiders’ third goal with 7:44 left in the half. She completed the scoring with her second goal 13:55 into the second half. Kristen Keene, who had hit the post 16 seconds earlier, assisted on the play.

Raiders goalkeeper Bailee Hudson (four saves) protected the shutout with a diving save in traffic with 13:59 left on the clock.

Replacement goalie Abby McRae made the save of the game for Milton at 13:12 to deny Graves a hat trick on a Raiders fast break.

Keene, Gillen-Keeney and Kyley Lavigne each had several tackles in open space. U-32 coach Melissa Muller-Moore emphasized how well her team played as a unit, but added that “Kristen’s doing very well.”

“We have skill at every position and the girls trust each other,” Muller-Moore said. “They played awesome. They really wanted it. We had great clears and then pushed it up the field. We’ve still got some work to do to communicate better and play crisper.”

Milton ends the season at 3-11-1. U-32 (14-0-1) will face either No. 3 Mount Abraham or No. 6 Woodstock in Wednesday’s 3:30 p.m. semifinal at Middlebury College.

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