Bellows Falls plays a brand of field hockey that one official called “field hockey on ice.” It has taken the 10-0 Terriers to 50 consecutive victories, the latest an 8-1 win over Rutland on Monday.
The Watertown (Massachusetts) High School field hockey program went 184 games without a loss, a streak that ended in 2017. There were some ties in there, but Watertown did win 124 straight contests.
But the Terriers aren’t thinking about national records. They would just love to win the Division I state title after winning the D-II crown last season. They are taking it one game at a time.
Rutland left with some solace. The Raiders became the first team to score on the Terriers this year.
That goal was scored by Audrey Comas-Altland off an assist from Jenna Sutherland in the waning minutes and with BF leading 8-0. A hard shot toward goal by Alexis Patterson triggered the scoring play.
“I think giving up the goal was a reality check,” Bellows Falls senior Michelle Marchica said. “It lets us know that we have to hustle back.”
BF coach Bethany Coursen concurred.
“Letting up the goal is not a bad thing,” she said.
The Terriers wasted little time in getting on top. Abbe Cravinho scored just 1:04 into the game with Megan Banick earning the assist. Banik then scored and the Terriers had themselves a 2-0 lead before the game was even three minutes old.
They built the lead to 7-0 by halftime.
Sophie Hyslop led BF’s scoring parade with three goals. Cravinho had two and Banik, Madi Joy and Emily Harris each knocked in one.
The streak is something to be proud of but something the Terriers would just as soon not talk about.
“Most of the time we just try to block it out,” senior Molly Kelly said.
Coursen liked what she saw from her team in that first half.
“There was a lot of communicating. We played really well,” she said. “Then in the second half, we were working on some things and moving people around.
“But Rutland worked really hard. The second-half goal could be good. It brings us down a little bit.”
The Terriers had a 7-0 edge in penalty corners in the first half and a 12-2 advantage for the game. “It was frustrating,” Rutland coach Karen Poljacik said. “Their passing is great, their stick is great and they are fast. That is quite a combination to have. They are an anomaly.”
Poljacik praised Lea Zmurko for a strong game on defense under heavy fire by the relentless BF attack.
“She played excellent defense at fullback,” Poljacik said.The Raiders did threaten in the first half. Ella Beraldi set up Sunderland with a pass and Sunderland whistled it just wide. Francie Ettori also had a strong scoring bid for the Raiders in the opening half.
But nearly all of that 30 minutes was owned by the Terriers as purple uniforms swarmed the goal and deft passing advanced the ball to make it possible.
The Terriers host Mount Anthony on Wednesday as they try to hike their record to 11-0.
The streak that nobody likes to talk about has been achieved with a well orchestrated feeder program that Coursen has developed. It has the varsity players working with the very young aspiring field hockey players in town as part of their community service.
The 6-4-1 Raiders make the trip to Manchester on Friday to take on a red hot Burr and Burton Academy team.