Two perennial Lakes Region League powers, Kimball Union Academy and Holderness School, met in the NEPSAC (New England Prep School Athletic Association) Class C field hockey finals on Sunday at Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, MA. KUA came away with a 2-0 victory to secure their 3rd straight Class C NEPSAC title and their 7th since 1999.
In the Saturday semi-finals, KUA, led by nine seniors, veterans of three previous NEPSAC tourneys, topped Southfield School 3-2 in a close match while Holderness handled Millbrook School, coasting to a 3-0 win to set up the final match between the two rivals. During the regular season KUA and Holderness swapped hard-fought wins on away turf, leaving the NEPSAC finals to decide the rubber match. Number one seed KUA started off the game a bit nervous but soon found their stride ten minutes into the game by taking control of the midfield and forcing number three seed Holderness back on their heels in front of their goal. Midfielders Kate Higgins (Cornwall, VT) and Andrea Hoisington, (S. Pomfret, VT) stopped several Holderness threats to advance the ball and supported the offensive line of Jen Hand, and the Joyce sisters, Kellie and MacKenzie (S. Pomfret, VT). Holderness found it difficult to counter-attack and gain ground, largely due to the stellar play of the back line, Bianca Mills (Pembroke, NH), Nicolle Moore (Plainfield, NH), and Emily Reeves, (Springfield, VT), all of whom made solid individual plays at key points in the half. KUA found the back of the cage with 13:28 remaining in the first half with a tip-in by Jen Hand off a crossing pass by Bridget Jarecki (Hanover, NH) from MacKenzie Joyce. Two minutes later, KUA pressed again and put the ball in the goal, but the official ruled "no goal" on a KUA foul in the circle. Undeterred, KUA continued to take the play to Holderness and tallied their second goal with 1:47 remaining in the half when MacKenzie Joyce tucked away a rebound off the goalie's pads.
The second half opened with a Holderness rally that was short-lived; goalkeeper Shelby Pillsbury made two key stops when called upon in what proved to be potential momentum changing shots, and locked up her tenth shut-out of the season. For the remainder of the half the field tilted KUA's way, though they could not put the ball behind the Holderness keeper despite several solid chances in front of the goal, including a penalty stroke foiled by the goalie and giving Holderness a glimmer of hope.
With the win, KUA finished the season as Lakes Region Champions and NEPSAC Champions with a record of 17-1-1.
Article from Kimball Union Academy website.