WESTWOOD, Mass. -- As the helm of 11 state championship teams with Watertown field hockey, Eileen Donahue has seen her fair share of talented players. While she couldn't pick one of the others, senior forward Erika Kelly is among the very best.
Kelly again proved why, setting the tone early as she registered three first half goals, which helped the Red Raiders beat Canton, 3-2, in the Division 2 state semifinals.
“We all had great communication, and we just came ready to play, and I think that’s what really helped us,” Kelly said.
“Erika has had a wonderful career at Watertown High [School]. The girls fed her that ball beautifully too,” Watertown head coach Eileen Donahue said.
Kelly posted her first goal literally two minutes after the opening face-off, and completed her hat trick during the final five minutes, as she scored on a breakaway and penalty shot, which gave the Red Raiders (21-0-1) a commanding lead prior to Canton’s first strike, which came off the stick of junior Meaghan McKenna before halftime.
The Bulldogs (20-1-1) then added one more goal in the second half when senior Haley Gaughan scored the team’s final goal with roughly six minutes remaining.
“In the halftime, we talked about that we had gone away from our game, we were sitting back and letting them beat us to [the] ball, we weren’t going to receive some of the nice passes we had, so we really just talked about getting back into our game, and settling things down,” said Canton head coach Fior Griggin, whose team was ousted by Watertown for the third straight season. “In the second half, we did that. We had more passing, we challenged them more, we didn’t allow them to receive without any pressure, and I think that made the difference, but we just ran out of time.”
“When they scored that second goal, the group actually was almost speechless there,” Donahue said. “They were actually angry, and then they composed themselves to we’ve got to play our game, and we can’t give up because Canton clearly had the momentum.”
Watertown’s defense fended off Canton’s remaining scoring chances, earning them a spot in Saturday’s state title match against Oakmont and a chance to earn a third-straight state title.