By Justin Cloutier
CHESHIRE -- Matching the 11 shutouts she had her sophomore season, Cheshire High School junior goalkeeper Alyssa Stevens turned away everything Guilford smacked her way Tuesday in a 1-0 home victory to continue her stellar year.
Cheshire (13-1) continued its six-game win streak by defeating Guilford (8-7-1) in a league field hockey game 1-0 on this cold autumn evening.
Midfielder Sara Pierpont scored the only goal for the Rams off a penalty with just three minutes left in the game to secure the win.
The teams have faced each other twice this season—the first resulting in a a scoreless tie to open the season, meaning that Stevens started and finished her season with a shutout against Guilford.
“Alyssa Stevens is tremendous,” Michelle Federico, a Quinnipiac University midfielder and former teammate of Stevens’ at Cheshire, said. “She creates a solid defensive unit for Cheshire and is truly an amazing athlete.”
Stevens posted eight saves in the game and has been strong all season.
Before the game, Cheshire head coach Eileen Wildermann said Stevens is one of her players that needs to play well in order for them to win.
The junior delivered.
First-half action started out as Guilford came out with three quick penalty corners. Stevens denied all of them. Stevens needed to play well because Guilford kept peppering the net with shots.
“Today was an example of how we can play even when we’re not on the same page,” Wildermann said.
“Teenage girls come with their own set of problems—one might be a boyfriend thing. One might be in a bad mood, or one might have a test, and if we don’t leave that off the field, then we don’t gel, and tonight was an example of that.”
The rest of the half consisted of mostly Cheshire possession. Cheshire finished the half after Guilford senior goalie Brooke Misbach denied five unanswered penalty corners.
“We’ve been working a lot on me in practice,” Misbach said. “I’ve figured out my mental issues.”
Misbach finished the game with six saves.
“Brooke played very well,” said Guilford head coach Katharine “Kitty” Palmer.
Both teams fired off multiple shots in the second half. Sophomore forward Olivia Clarke led Guilford with three shots, and junior midfielder Teddi Stanley posted two shots, both penalty corners.
“We work on our corners every day,” Palmer said. “We just get in a game and things don’t seem to go our way, whether it’s a bounce here or a bounce there.”
Cheshire finished the game with nine attempted shots.
With three minutes left in the game, Pierpont got a pass from freshman midfielder Bailey Cunningham, and made no doubt with her shot as the ball hit the back of the cage.
“Our penalty corners have been close all game,” Pierpont said. “I was so happy to get that pass because we’ve been trying so hard all game and we finally got it.”
Cheshire will go into the playoffs Saturday, and will most likely play Sacred Heart Academy in the first round of playoffs at Alumni Stadium in Cheshire.
Students in Quinnipiac University's JRN361: Sports Reporting course cover local high school sports competitions. Their work is showcased here.
Banner photo courtesy
Dana Jensen/The Day (2003)