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HADDONFIELD Athletics

Home of the HADDONS

HADDONFIELD Athletics

Home of the HADDONS

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2 years ago by Mark Trible

FIELD HOCKEY: Haddonfield gets first State title since '91

BORDENTOWN - After a 3-0 loss to Shore in the final a year ago, Haddonfield High School field hockey coach Lindsay Kocher went home and sat around.

Saturday, she had bigger, louder and brighter plans. Kocher and her team had to meet a group of firetrucks ready to drive them around town.

With a 2-1 triumph over Madison, the Bulldawgs (19-5-1) took home the Group 1 state championship - its first in the sport since 1991.

“Just to get here last year was an awesome season,” Kocher said. “We didn’t come out on top but it was exciting for this program.

“To make it back here, they knew they’d have to work harder. I have no words.”

A penalty stroke early on boosted Haddonfield’s confidence. The exercise worked on every day at the end of practice paid off for senior forward Meghan Smart.

She crouched patiently before the attempt.

“I just took a deep breath,” Smart said. “I get 10 seconds, I like to wait five seconds to keep the goalie guessing.”

The strategy worked with a shot that went in the bottom-left side.

“It’s a lot of pressure because we wanted to score first,” Smart explained. “It was such a relief when it went in. I had so many emotions going on inside.”

With 6:26 left before halftime, senior forward Emma Feldhake padded the lead.

On a combination that sounded like a lottery call – 4 to 13 to 5 to 24 – Feldhake rapped a shot through traffic and hit the jackpot.

The digits, Jaimie McCormick to Smart to Caroline Bickel to Feldhake.

“I just tried to one-time it into the cage,” the eventual game-winning scorer said. “Luckily, it went my way.”

It wasn’t the last good fortune that would shine on the Haddons.

Dodgers’ (16-5) midfielder Elizabeth Romano scored with 19:55 left in the second half. At 14:43, Romano hit the post on the short side.

The clock stood at 10:49 when Romano got another try.

Her penalty stroke flew wide of the cage.

“I knew the odds were against me,” goalie Megan Maynes, who finished with eight saves, said. “When I saw it went wide, I was just hoping it really went wide.”

Haddonfield stood tall the rest of the way. As the clock wound down, Kocher began to jump on her sideline and look at her team.

In a split-second, the whistle rang out.

“It means all the hard work and all the practices, in the end when the buzzer went off, it all came together,” Maynes said.

Kocher detailed her champions’ process.

“We had a lot of ups and downs,” the Collingswood grad said. “Each day, they worked to get a little better. We were going to win together or we were going to lose together.

“We had bounces go our way today, which is nice. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes, it doesn’t.”

It happened for the Haddons after a quarter-century delay. A year removed from disappointment, the gaggle of parents, friends and well-wishers soaked in the postgame hug fest.

That parade around town could wait a bit longer.

 


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