NORTH ANDOVER — Maggie Bridgeo knew it would come down to the wire.
And the Masconomet field hockey coach was hoping that there would be a rush down the field to win it.
And, unfortunately for Andover, that’s exactly the way it turned out, as Masco slipped past the defending state champion Warriors 2-1 in overtime Saturday afternoon in the Division 1 North championship game at North Andover High School.
Deadlocked after regulation, Andover seemed in control for the first few minutes of the 7-on-7 overtime. But the Chieftains got the ball shortly after four minutes were gone and suddenly had a 3-on-1 break streaking down the field.
As the trio got closer to the Andover goal, Lily Conway got the ball to captain Nicole Amyouny, who fired in the winning goal.
“I knew it was going to be a tough, tough game and come down to one goal,” said Bridgeo, whose 19-1-2 club advances to the state semifinals at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Braintree against 20-1 South champion Somerset-Berkley. “I was nervous about this game and it didn’t start out well.
“I liked our chances in overtime. I thought they might be getting a little tired and our forwards are fast and can run forever. They all run track, do marathons, that kind of thing.”
For Andover coach Maureen Noone, it wasn’t speed that did them in on that final surge downfield in overtime.
“It was disappointing — our defense didn’t play it well and didn’t get back in time,” said Noone. “It’s too bad it had to end like this.
“I thought we overachieved this year but I felt we were playing well and could come in here, play with them and win the game. We had a great season (16-3-3) but we didn’t play our best game today.”
But the Warriors did come out of the gates flying and dominated play at the start with a huge advantage in possession time. And, after just six minutes, sophomore Heather Graham scored following a scramble in front of the goal, giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
But, on one of its first serious rushes down the field, with 10 minutes left in the half, Masco tied the game on a goal by Nina Morris and it remained tied at the intermission.
The momentum shifted to Masconomet in the second half. Whereas Andover had four penalty corners to none for the Chieftains in the first half and outshot them, Masco took control in the second half, getting seven penalty corners to none for Andover and getting several good chances to score.
Explaining the turnaround, Bridgeo said: “We didn’t have a good warmup and that continued into the game. I told them they had to start showing some energy and change things around. I thought we got it together in the second half.”
The two teams battled to a 2-2 tie in the very first game of the season, in Andover, but that didn’t make Bridgeo feel any better.
“I don’t like to play a team like that again. I know about Andover’s program and I knew this was going to be a battle, which it was.
“They’ve got some very good players. That No. 19 (Joanna Archambault) is an amazing player, very strong and she controls the midfield, which we were worried about, and No. 2 (Hanna Medwar) is really fast.”
The sophomore Medwar was indeed impressive with her speed and stick handling, particularly in the first half. But, said Noone, “Hanna controlled a lot, but the forwards weren’t getting up there with her.”
Still, the Warriors have a predominantly young team and very well may face Masco in the North finals again next year. The Chieftains are also extremely young and start four freshmen as well as two sophomores along with junior Mak Graves, the Cape Ann League Player of the Year.
Graves went down with an ankle injury in the first half but came back strong in the second half to help the Chieftains control play. “There was no way she was not going back on the field,” said Bridgeo.
Masconomet 2, Andover 1
Division 1 North Final
Goals: A — Heather Graham; M — Nina Morris, Nicole Amyouny
Saves: A — Allison Gasperoni 6; M — Ainsley Gruener 5
Masconomet (19-2-1): 1 0 1 — 2
Andover (16-3-3): 1 0 0 — 1