BEDFORD — Playing in its seventh championship game in eight years, Windham not only emphatically wrapped up another dominant field hockey season, but also showed off the qualities that have turned the Jaguars into a dynasty.
With a senior beating the halftime buzzer for the only goal it would need, and a sophomore converting the late clincher, second-seeded Windham knocked off fifth-seeded Concord, 2-0, Sunday evening for the Division 1 state title at Bedford High School.
It was Windham’s first Division 1 championship in its second attempt since moving up last year, and fourth overall in seven title game appearances since 2012.
“They are awesome,” said Windham coach Katie Blair, who has guided the program to a 103-9-4 record (.905) since taking over in 2015. “From the senior leadership on down, their goal was to get better than they were the day before. Their hard work, heart and dedication was what got us here today. They’re pretty special. Any one of them would do anything for anyone else.”
The Jaguar defense continued its season-long suffocation of opposing offenses, allowing only two shots in the title game and six shots in three tournament wins. It was senior Kayla Antonucci’s 10th shutout this year and 23rd over the past two.
“The defense is unreal,” said Blair, whose squad outscored opponents 54-3 and never allowed more than one goal in any game. “That’s our forwards getting back and everyone working together. The seniors are just so special. I can’t tell you enough about them. From the classroom to the field and how they treat the underclassmen.”
Despite controlling the action with 12 corners in the opening half, Windham (16-1) was deadlocked until Ryane Farrell found the ball on her stick with the final seconds ticking off. Unfazed, Farrell spun and used the left backboard to beat the Concord keeper with sixth-tenths of a second remaining.
“I had no idea how much time was left,” senior tri-captain Farrell said of her sixth goal and fifth in the final six outings. “The last I saw was 20 seconds, so I knew we wanted to get it in the circle. I was thinking maybe a corner or someone would tip it in.”
It was Windham’s sixth shot on net compared to one for Concord.
“We were trying to get a corner,” Blair said. “But when (Farrell) put it in, it was even better. It was a spark.”
Concord (12-5) had a brief flurry early in the second half with the only four corners it would get after intermission during an 85-second stretch. But even then only one shot reached Antonucci.
The rest of the half was spent almost entirely in Windham’s offensive end. And finally, on their 15th corner of the match, the Jags converted. Sophomore Amy Lanouette, who inserted every corner, found senior Livi Manchester, who immediately passed back to Lanouette. She scored with 5:33 remaining.
“I played to what the goalie was giving me instead of running the exact play (that was designed),” said Lanouette of her first goal on the season, that came on the same day she celebrated turning 16. “I saw that the net was open and I just shot it, placed it correctly and it went right in. I knew it was in when I shot.
“That was a risky angle to take … but when you see the goalie is off the line, it’s a crucial moment to hit the ball as soon as you see it. Extending that lead was such a relief because 1-0 is a scary lead to have.”
Senior starters Farrell, Antonucci, Manchester and Mary Johnson wrapped up four-year careers with a 61-5-1 (.918) mark while going a combined 3-1 in Division 1 and Division 2 title matches.
While the Jaguars lose quality seniors, seven of the 11 championship-game starters were underclassmen, including sophomores Lanouette and Ava Milner and freshman Kenzi Suech.
“We lose players each year, but we gain just as many,” said Blair. “That’s what’s important to grow the program and culture. But those seniors are everything to this program. They’ve shown me how to be a team player … and taught me how to have fun doing it with girls you love.”
DYNASTY BY THE NUMBERS
After finishing 5-7-3 in its inaugural 2010 season, Windham has dominated both Division 2 and Division 1 competition. The Jaguars moved up to Division 1 in 2018. Here are the yearly records with championship game scores and opponent:
Year Record Finish
2011 11-4-0 Did not qualify
2012 13-3-1 Lost D2 final (Lebanon, 3-1)
2013 15-1-1 Won D2 final over Merrimack Valley (2-1)
2014 15-1-1 Lost D2 final (Lebanon, 2-1)
2015 11-2-1 Lost D2 quarterfinal
2016 15-2-0 Won D2 final over Derryfield (1-0)
2017 15-1-1 Won D2 final over Hanover (1-0)
2018 15-2-0 Lost D1 final (Winnacunnet, 2-0)
2019 16-1-0 Won D1 final over Concord (2-0)
Total 111-16-5 (.860) 4-3 in finals
Windham 2, Concord 0
Division 1 State Championship
Goals: Ryan Farrell, Amy Lanouette
Assists: Livi Manchester
Saves: Concord — Felicity Wheldon 7; Windham — Kayla Antonucci 2
Windham (16-1): 1 1 — 2
Concord (12-5): 0 0 — 0