Field hockey: Oak Hill breaks through, stymies Telstar

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Veilleux emphatically finished a flurry in front of the cage with 15:11 to play in regulation, scoring her first goal in nearly three games and her team’s first in nearly two, lifting the Raiders to a 2-0 win over Telstar in MVC field hockey action.

“I was so mad. I just wanted the ball to go in the goal to get us going, to get us scoring more,” Veilleux said. “That ball was going in, and that was all there was to it.”

“She’s been really struggling with that herself,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “She’s been asking, ‘Coach, what can I do?’ And it’s not that she wasn’t doing something. It’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.”

Veilleux added a second goal with 2:02 to play, marking her 20th and 21st goals of the year.

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“I was so relieved. It was like a bunch of pressure being lifted off of my shoulders,” Veilleux said. “This boosts us up a lot. It makes us realize that we need to keep working hard and keep pushing through.”

Veilleux’s first tally capped a long spell of pressure from the Raiders (12-0-1) inside the Rebels’ circle, pressure that proved fruitless to that point against keeper Meg Glover.

The agile Telstar keeper finished the day with 23 saves, many from in close. Fifteen of those saves came in the second half.

“She made some beautiful saves. She was really on her game today,” Telstar coach Gail Wight said. “She paid attention to the ball. She followed the ball well.”

Oak Hill generally carried play for most of the opening half, as well, maintaining possession of the ball for long periods of time through the midfield. But the Raiders, on their Senior Day, had a harder time generating shots in the opening stanza.

“I knew today was going to be high emotion. I knew it was going to be a little bit of getting them to play together more,” Gilbert said. “There were a couple of things I knew we were going to have to overcome today.”

On the counterattack, Telstar (6-6) didn’t have many opportunities, but the Rebels had a few to keep goalie Abby Fuller busy.

“It sat right there,” Wight said. “Twice, it sat right there in front of the cage and we just couldn’t finish it.”

Oak Hill asserted itself in the second half, spending most of the time inside the Telstar end. At one point just before Veilleux’s first strike, the Raiders held a 12-0 edge in shots, and a 6-0 edge in penalty corners in the second half.

“Once they started connecting, you could see it,” Gilbert said. “They were coming to the ball. They were hitting their crosses. They were shooting hard.”

Veilleux’s goal at 15:11 snapped a goalless drought that began in the second half against Hall-Dale on Oct. 1. Oak Hill played to a 0-0, double-overtime tie with Winthrop on Friday and went the first 44:49 of Monday’s contest without a goal, as well.

Veilleux’s second score finished a feed across the stroke from Erika Hannigan.

“I was standing over on the post, and I was just watching and I saw the ball coming across,” Veilleux said. “I had to just take my time.”

The Raiders cap their season Friday with a return match at MVC No. 2 Lisbon. Telstar will face Dirigo and Boothbay on the road this week to finish the campaign.

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