Dartmouth defeats Durfee in Southeastern Conference field hockey game

DARTMOUTH — Every time Dartmouth kicked in for a corner kick in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference game with Durfee, Hilltoppers head coach Nicole Henrique would yell, “We know where it’s going.”

Henrique was right.

Junior Grace Haskell netted two goals from corners in the final nine minutes to power Dartmouth to a 2-0 win over Durfee at Dartmouth Memorial Stadium in a battle of the Southeastern Conference’s top two field hockey teams.

Dartmouth's Grace Haskell looks for a shot on goal.

“We know each other well,” Henrique said. “We play in the same league and we play in the same area, so it felt like the ball was going to the same place every time, so we were trying to score it better.

“We knew coming into the game that she was someone we really had to watch and try to go one-on-one in the circle. We were trying to do that. In the corners it makes things more difficult.

Dartmouth's Grace Haskell and Samantha Souza celebrate as they put it 2-0 up on Durfee.

Dartmouth broke a scoreless tie when on a fourth consecutive corner attempt Haskell received a pass from junior Samantha Souza and sent it over the head of senior Durfee keeper Kailey Hutchinson for a 1-0 with 8:56 to go.

“She has such a strong shot,” Henrique said of Haskell. “If she has the opportunity to score, she will. We know that. With good attackers and good players, that’s how it is. Trying to keep the ball away from her stick was definitely one of our goals today and unfortunately on that corner the shot was there and she took it.

Dartmouth celebrate Grace Haskell's goal.

Less than four minutes later, Haskell celebrated a second goal on another corner pass from Souza.

“It’s a scrum and it’s all on goal and you’re all in. You’re playing on the whistle,” Haskell said of the game in front of the net. “I love the corners. They’re my favorite part of field hockey. I love it when Sam is the one getting into the ball because we’re having so much fun. I know one of us is going to put it on and the one of us is going to have help.

Souza and Haskell share a bond that dates back to youth sports.

“We have such a connection it’s like telepathy,” Souza said. “I’ve played with Grace all my life. We played against each other and we played with each other. I trust her so much. Whenever she’s there, I know I can count on her.

Dartmouth's Samantha Souza presses the attack ahead of Durfee's Josie Caine.

Dartmouth head coach Beth Arguin said the two make a great one-two combination.

“There was the start of their connection last year and they got so used to each other in that circle, knowing where the other is going to be,” Arguin said. “Nice to have.”

Arguin said there’s a reason Dartmouth are turning to Haskell in the corners.

“She’s determined,” she said. “She has this tenacity. Until he gets in the net, she won’t be happy.

Durfee had his chances in the game, but couldn’t take advantage of them. Dartmouth senior keeper Morgan Mello stopped a close-range shot from senior Shakira Cadet early in the fourth quarter.

Dartmouth's Abbie Zuber follows her pass to Kallie Rose.

“Morgan made a hell of a play in the net for us,” Arguin said. “It was a huge save against the No.8 on the post. It was 0-0 at the time, so that could have changed the momentum of the game. It was a huge save. Even though there was only one, it was big. We were grateful for that.

Henrique added: “We had a few chances and in the moment we just missed the net. It just seemed like we didn’t make it when we had our chances. I told the girls early on that this was going to be one of those games. It won’t be an eruption. It’s going to be who wants it the most and who does it in the moment. During the opportunities we were unfortunately unable to do this.

Dartmouth manager Beth Arguin speaks to the team at half-time.

The victory was important for Dartmouth.

“They are playing well this year,” said Arguin of Durfee. “When they beat us the first time, we felt like we had outplayed them, so it was like getting that back and leveling it up a bit. It’s a good team. They are physical and they have some very good players like us too. I think we’re about even.

Souza added: “We had a little discomfort but we got through it. We have seen so much progress happen. We have improved so much. I am so happy to see him. We are a young team and we are all maturing. It’s so great to see everyone coming together to be who they can be and everyone doing their best.

Dartmouth's Kallie Rose rushes to the line.

WHAT THIS MEANS: The loss was the first for Durfee in Southeastern Conference play. The Hilltoppers (9-2-2, 5-1 SEC) have two more conference games against New Bedford and Bridgewater-Raynham. “If we can get those two wins, we can still win the league at this stage,” Henrique said. … Dartmouth, which lost to Durfee 2-1 earlier in the season, improves to 8-1-4 and 5-1-1 in the SEC. Dartmouth hosts North Attleboro Friday at 5:15 p.m.

SOUTHCOASTVARSITY GAME PLAYER: Haskell scored both goals in the game.

HENRIC: “Offensively today we looked a step back. We were hiding behind their defense a bit.

ARGUINA: “I’m proud of them for pulling this one off because when we have tight games we tend to have a little breakdown and that shows they’ve got it. Now’s the time to do it right before tournament.”

STATISTICS: Melo made two saves for Dartmouth while Hutchinson made three for Durfee. … Dartmouth beat Durfee 5-2 in the game.

Catherine J. Martinez