MARLBOROUGH – It came down to the wire, but Marlborough’s field hockey comeback bid fell short.
On Monday afternoon, the Doherty Highlanders traveled down I-290 to face the Marlborough Panthers at Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School. The Panthers eventually lost the hard-fought game 3-1.
“They played really hard… The things we’re working on in practice we’re seeing in games. We’re seeing improvements. This is just another close game we’ve had this season,” Marlborough Head Coach Michaella DaSilva told the Community Advocate after the game.
Marlborough started the game hot, spending much of the first quarter on Doherty’s side of the field. The Panthers threatened to draw first blood just three minutes into the game, but the early goal was called back by the referees. Although Doherty started to control the ball as the quarter went on, Marlborough goalkeeper Natalie Gulbankian made several heroic saves to keep the game scoreless through the first quarter of action.
“She’s done a really good job. She’s made a lot of great improvements. She’s being aggressive, she’s seeing the ball really well. She’s sacrificing her body. It’s not just the first shot – she’s reacting when there are multiple shots. There was a game the other day when she had 25 saves,” said DaSilva.
The game remained scoreless all the way until the fleeting seconds of the second quarter. Doherty’s last-second penalty stroke put the Highlanders up 1-0 going into halftime. Doherty opened the third quarter with another score to increase their lead to 2-0; Doherty had controlled the ball for most of the game.
However, Marlborough started to gain some momentum after Doherty’s score. With 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Kacie Horn scored the Panthers’ first goal of the evening. Kacie, along with her sister Maggie, gave Marlborough an opportunity to get back into the game.
“They find each other really well in the middle of the field,” said DaSilva. “They have that sister sense I guess.”
The Panthers spent the fourth quarter trying to grab another goal, but the Doherty defense was solid. The Highlanders scored again with two minutes left to put the game out of reach. Doherty won 3-1.
With the loss, the Panthers fell to 1-7-1. The team’s record can be deceiving; four of the team’s seven losses have been within one point. Marlborough has hung tight with tough competition (with the win, Doherty improved to 9-0), but DaSilva emphasized that the team must make adjustments and find ways to win close games.
“Hopefully when we see our league opponents the second time through they see a different team from us. Hopefully we make some adjustments to come out on top of some of these close games… They’re doing really well, and their record isn’t a good reflection of this team. [We’ve had] lots of one-score games,” DaSilva said.