WORCESTER ֱ After winning back-to-back state championships, with many new players and coaching staff, the thought of the Andover High field hockey team getting back to the final this season seemed like a pipe dream.

But the Golden Warriors not only got back, but remained the powerhouse program itֱs always been, including four shutout wins in the Div. 1 state tournament.

One Walpole High goal was enough to end another dream fun. The goal by Izzy Adams lifted the No. 1 seeded Porkers (22-1) past the No. 2 seed Warriors (19-3) on Alumni Field at the Worcester Poly Tech campus.

ֱWalpole won the first half and we won the second half,ֱ said Andover head coach Bridget Morris. ֱBut at that point, they had the goal. I knew Walpole is a good team and they are a good team and they played a little bit better than us today. It is what it is, but I just said to the kids that at the beginning of the year I never thought this could happen so just getting here is a win for them. I donֱt want the kids to be upset and Iֱm not upset. Walpole played better and if we lost, I wanted it to be against a better team and today they were better.ֱ

Walpole took complete control of the first quarter, dominating possession and territory. Andover goalie Madeline DiGiorgio (5 saves) came through making two solid saves early on, including the first coming on a nice blocker save. With less than two minutes left, the Porkers had the ball down in the Warriorsֱ end, and Adams took a loose ball and fired it inside the left hand post for the 1-0 lead with 1:43 to go.

Andover started to get things going offensively in the final seven minutes of the second quarter. Avery Pitts had the teamֱs first shot on net, which was kicked out by Porkersֱ goalie Abby Johnson, who will be playing at UNH the next four years. Three minutes later, Ella Sewall sent a pass to Bella DiFiore and her shot was saved by Johnson, who had to sprawl on the ground before the ball was cleared.

ֱIn order to score on her we needed to get the ball to the net, multiple times. (Johnson is) a very good goalie,ֱ said Morris. ֱWe talked a lot about having a forward on her pads, just be right in front of her because we wanted to get some to redirect the shots. We talked a lot about rebounds too because thatֱs how Franklin scored their goals (in the semi-final). We focus on that stuff (in our practices) but today we didnֱt have the ball enough on the offensive side.ֱ

The second half featured only one shot on net between both teams and that came off the stick of Adams with DiGiorgio making a terrific right foot save coming with 30 seconds left in the third.

ֱI was very happy with how we played defensively and thrilled with the way (DiGiorgio) played. She only gave up one goal in four tournament games and eight all season. Sheֱs good, she had a terrific season and this was her first season as a starter. Pressure wise she handled everything so well,ֱ said Morris.

The ֱ-Tribune will have an additional story on the teamֱs ride to the state final in Mondayֱs edition, as well as photos from todayֱs game later today.

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