LITCHFIELD — With dirt flying, legs shifting and sticks swinging, the goalmouth of a field hockey cage can be a dangerous place to ply a trade.

The Oak Hill Raiders have developed a system of controlled chaos in the circle, using quick passing and an innate knowledge of each others’ position after years of playing together.

Friday, they showed just how lethal that attack can be.

Lexi Fuller and Sadie Goulet scored twice each and midfielder Danielle Samson added another as the Raiders opened the season with a 5-0 win over Mountain Valley at the Carrie Ricker School in Litchfield.

“We’ve been working on our passes, going back and forth an laterally,” Goulet said. “We were moving to the ball well, and that really helped, too.”

“They’ve worked hard the past three weeks really putting together our passing game and really creating that space,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “If you can’t do that, you’re going to get shut down.”


There was little danger in that Friday.

The first scrum Oak Hill created resulted in the game’s first goal, and despite the presence of several members of both teams, none of the Raiders panicked. Instead, Samson snuck in on the back left post and rattled the ball home past Mountain Valley keeper Kassie Thibodeau.

“No one is greedy in there, it was all around,” Gilbert said. “That was really impressive to see.”

The Falcons have been hit hard by graduation the past couple of years, losing nine players after each of the previous two seasons.

“We’re young and it will get better,” Mountain Valley coach Melissa Forbes said. “We have 10 freshmen and 10 sophomores, so we’ll grow.”

Mountain valley showed its promise early, and in spurts throughout the contest, managing some pressure on Oak Hill goalie Abby Fuller a few times and forcing the keeper to make three saves. The better of the Falcons’ chances came in the second half.


“We made some changes on the field, and we’re still trying to figure out who should be playing where,” Forbes said.

But each Falcon foray into the Oak Hill end turned around quickly.

“Our offense dropped down to help out on defense, which is a big key for us,” Goulet said.

Transition played a key role in the Raiders’ second tally. Lexi Fuller finished that one off on a feed from Goulet. Three minutes later, she struck again, this time taking advantage of a turnover in the Mountain Valley zone and rolling the ball into the right corner of the cage.

Goulet capped the first half with her first of the game on a feed from Kayla Veilleux.

In the second half, after a set of battles through the midfield, Oak Hill took control again, testing Thibodeau 11 times in the latter stages of the second half. Twice, they forced penalty strokes, but Thibodeau answered the bell each time.

Goulet snuck in her second of the game with 7:38 to play to finish the scoring.

Oak Hill gets a chance at a perennial MVC powerhouse Monday when they travel to Jay to take on Spruce Mountain before returning home for a matchup against Telstar on Wednesday.

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