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The Harwood Union girls' varsity field hockey team is off to its best start in years under the direction of their new head coach Heidi Hill. Hill who's no stranger to The Valley, was a former Harwood varsity field hockey player and has been the coach of the Milton High School field hockey team for the last eight seasons before taking the reins at Harwood Union.
Harwood has compiled victories that included two wins over U-32 as well as wins over Burlington, Milton, Montpelier and Monday's thrilling 2-1 overtime win against rivals Mount Abraham, who defeated Harwood in the conference playoffs last year.
Solid goal tending by sophomore net-minder Chelsea Delphia has been a key component to the Highlander's continued success, as she has posted an impressive four shutouts in the first six games she has started. Also, a solid group of veterans including seniors Abby Zarotny, Becky Werner, Eloise Reid, Mallory Hebert and Britney Hoare as well as a new crop of younger players that include freshman Jill Pierce and sophomores Sophie Lisaius and Sarah Reid have all played a major role in keeping the team on their winning track.
In the September 15 nail-biting contest with Mount Abraham, Harwood senior Mallory Hebert drilled one by the Eagles' stellar goalie Jesseca Wendel, giving the Highlanders the early 1-0 lead, and the all important positive momentum. The Highlanders continued to test the Eagles' goalie as they out-shot their opponents 12 shots to 9. With 19:44 left in the game, the Eagles tied it up 1-1. Despite intense pressure from both offenses and a highly enthusiastic crowd cheering their teams on, neither squad was able to put it away and claim victory in regulation, so the game ended in a tie, and went into a 10-minute sudden death overtime.
Both teams kept up the pressure, and each goalie denied several excellent scoring opportunities. As the clock ticked down to only 14 seconds remaining in the overtime period, Harwood made one last push towards the Mount Abraham goal, and after the Eagles' goalie made yet another great save, sophomore Sarah Reid pounced on a rebound in front of the net and beat Wendel when she buried the ball in the far corner of the net giving Harwood the victory.
"It was a great game," Harwood coach Heidi Hill said. "Both teams played very well. Our team let up a bit after their goal, but we kicked in gear for the seven-on-seven OT. It was great to see how they played."
The Highlanders next take on Milton at home Thursday, September 19, at 4 p.m., then travel to face archrival Stowe on Saturday, September 20, at 2 p.m.