Acton-Boxboro corners Lincoln-Sudbury in DCL field hockey action

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SUDBURY – Offensive corners seem to be the bread and butter of the Acton-Boxboro field hockey team’s attack, and a section of what it practices is dedicated toward finishing broken plays in those opportunities.

That paid off Wednesday afternoon with the Dual County League title in the balance, using two goals on busted corners in the third quarter to narrowly beat Lincoln-Sudbury, 2-1.

Defenses starred for both units as dangerous chances around the goal were limited, making the eight second-half corners the Revolution (11-2-1) produced all the more impactful. Especially in a win they grinded through for another league title despite dealing with a few injuries.

“We had adjustments to make, and we did,” said Acton-Boxboro field hockey coach Mae Shoemaker. “That just sealed the DCL for them, so it was important. … Winning while they’re missing (important pieces was huge).”

Acton-Boxboro led the shot battle at halftime, but all of its shots came from just inside the circle as the Warriors (6-3-3) snuffed out any opportunities by the goal in a scoreless affair. The Revs had a hard time breaking through, up until the corners started rolling in after the break.

Lincoln-Sudbury nearly cleared the first corner of the second half midway through the third quarter, but Shannon Patrick intercepted the ball before assisting Sarah Ryan’s goal from near the stroke for a 1-0 lead. Devin Onken dashed toward a slow pass on the Revs’ next corner, slamming in a 2-0 lead just around the goaltender with 3:46 left in the quarter.

Neither goal went exactly as planned, but that’s why A-B practices those plays. And it was no coincidence both goals came on the first two corners of the half after being limited to just three corners before the break.

“Once we scored our energy just shifted and we were really attacking the ball,” said Revs senior Cat Holtz. “Sometimes it’s hard to start out with energy but then once we score or get a bunch of corner opportunities, that’s when we really pick it up. … I think we’re just really gritty in the circle.”

“If you get corners, you’ve got seven people against four,” Shoemaker added. “You should be able to do something with it. They’ve been working much better this year.”

Lincoln-Sudbury took advantage of its lone second-half corner in response, with Blaire Brennan burying a missile with just 1:23 left to play.

It was the only significant blemish in an otherwise spotless defensive display from A-B, which staved off a few promising transitions from Warriors forward Ellie Innes. Emily Chen and Abby Depew were crucial in keeping almost everything contained to the outside, ensuring the Revs finished on the right side of the defensive showdown.

“My defense stepped up big time,” Shoemaker said. “They had some good opportunities and the defense stepped up. … That’s what they were supposed to do, play everything to the outside.”

The result is another DCL title to add to the Revs’ large trophy case, and it’s meaningful. But more in the sense that it contributes to a much bigger goal.

“Obviously we’re excited about it but I think it just reminds us that the job’s not finished,” Holtz said. “It’s just one step in our process.”

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