Class M field hockey: Guilford erupts in second half for 3rd straight state title

WETHERSFILD — Despite a strong performance by Wethersfield goalie Julia Peacock, constant pressure and ball possession by Guilford eventually took its toll in the CIAC Class M field hockey championship game on Saturday.

Grace Barlage scored twice and Maddie Epke had three assists to lead No. 1 Guilford to a 4-0 win over No. 2 Wethersfield at Joseph F. Cottone Field for the Grizzlies third straight Class M title.

Peacock had 26 saves and faced 25 penalty corners and the Eagles’ defense blocked six shots in front of Peacock.

“Their goalie was so amazing,” Guilford coach Kitty Palmer said. “She was making save after save. It was getting scary late in the game because with one break Wethersfield could have scored that first goal.

“But I have confidence in my defense, and with the pressure we had, we were confident one of those shots would get by her. When Grace scored our first goal, it was critical because then they were allowed to relax. Getting three titles is great and it was done in the Maddie Epke era.”

Allie Petonito and Isabel Mathews added goals for the top-seeded Grizzlies, who end their season 22-1.

Guilford has won five state titles in 13 championship appearances.

It was the 15th shutout of the season for the Grizzlies, who outscored opponents 117-16.

Wethersfield’s defense in the first half and most of the third quarter kept the game scoreless.

In the first quarter, Epke initiated four breakaway opportunities and took five shots, but Peacock made each of the saves. Epke had two quality, wide-open shots, but Peacock came up with kick saves each time.

It was more of the same in the second quarter with Peacock making kick saves on Epke shots on goal to keep the game scoreless at halftime.

While the tough Eagles defense continued in the third quarter, the Guilford pressure also continued. With 7 seconds left in the third quarter, Barlage took a pass from Epke on a breakaway and took a shot in front of the left post to give Guilford a 1-0 lead.

Barlage made it 2-0 with 12:03 to go in the fourth quarter. The scoring continued with Petonito making it 3-0 with 5:29 to go and Matthews made it 4-0 with 13 seconds left.

“Their goalie played a great game and it was getting a little frustrating out there, especially with all the penalty corners” Barlage said. “But we just kept pushing them and creating opportunities.

“I’m just so happy we won and to be able to contribute makes it so special. My first goal I tipped it in and the second one I just sent the ball over the goalie.”

Sophie Adams had the best chance to score for the Eagles with a shot on goal early in the third quarter. But Julia McDonald came up with the save for the Grizzlies to keep the game scoreless.

“We did a nice job with our defense, our goalie played extremely well for us and we did our best to keep the gam scoreless. Our defense kept us in the game. But having to deal with penalty corner after penalty corner was exhausting for us.

“They held us out of our offense and we didn’t have a penalty corner. You have to give Guilford credit, they’re a vry good team.”


Wethersfield goalie Julia Peacock kept the game from being a blowout with 26 saves with most coming on the 25 penalty corners she faced.


“Getting so many penalty corners and not scoring just showed how amazing their goalie was today. But I knew if we kept the pressure going we would score. We just needed that one goal to get us going.” — Guilford coach Kitty Palmer.


(at Wethersfield)

Wethersfield0 0 0 0 — 0

Guilford0 0 0 1 3 — 4

Scoring: Goals - G-Grace Barlage 2, Allie Petonito, Isael Matthews. Assists: G-Maddie Epke 3. Saves: W - Julia Peacock 26; G - Julia McDonald 2.