FARMINGDALE — Entering Monday afternoon’s field hockey game with Winthrop, Hall-Dale was winless in four games and had scored one goal this season. As it turned out, something was different for this game.

“In the past, I feel like we’ve just been kind of lacking a fire and a passion,” Hall-Dale senior forward Nicole Pelletier said. “Today, I really felt that with all 22 or 21 or us, we all really wanted to win, and wanted to keep it in our favor the whole game.”

Pelletier scored less than five minutes into the game, and a Hall-Dale defense led by senior goalie Molly French held onto the lead as the Bulldogs earned a 1-0 upset victory.

“I think it’s a little bit of an icebreaker for the girls,” Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said. “To go four games without a win — you never want your players to start thinking, ‘Oh my God, we’re never going to win,’ — now they have that taste a little bit, so it’s not unattainable.”

“I think it’s a big confidence-booster,” French said. “Winthrop’s a very good team. They’re very skilled.”

After Hall-Dale outplayed the Ramblers in the first half, Winthrop (2-2-1) dominated the second half, holding advantages of 14-2 on shots and 9-3 on corners after the break.

“We’re just a young team, and we’re having our ups and downs right now,” Winthrop coach Jess Merrill said. “Second half, they showed what they can do. First half, hopefully this is a good learning experience for them. They wanted it more than we did today — at least in the first half.”

Pelletier scored 4 minutes, 52 seconds into the game on a penalty corner. The Bulldogs (1-4) got deep into the circle, and Pelletier smacked home the rebound.

“In the past couple games, we haven’t really gotten as close as we would have liked,” Pelletier said. “I knew that as soon as I got it that close, I wasn’t going to let it get behind me. There was just nothing stopping me. I used more force than I probably had. It wasn’t going to not go in.”

Winthrop’s best chance to tie the score in the first half came with about four minutes left, but French came out of the cage to deny Winthrop’s Dani Kotow on the left side.

The Ramblers had plenty more chances in the second half. Less than two minutes in, Winthrop got the ball behind French, but Kinli DiBiase’s reverse-stick sweep shot went just wide right. Midway through the half, the Ramblers got a whistle for a penalty corner — a split second before Sarah Spahr knocked the ball past French and into the cage.

Winthrop’s execution was fine — the Ramblers had at least two shots on five different corners in the second half. But French (eight of her 10 saves after the break) would not let the ball through.

“She is a good goalie, and she was last year,” Merrill said. “That’s what we were afraid of.”

The Ramblers got another chance when they were awarded a penalty stroke with 8:21 to go. French guessed correctly, but Emily Molino still got the ball past her, only to have it ding off the right post.

“It kind of freaked me out, because I knew it didn’t touch my stick,” French said. “But it touched the post.”

French made her last save with approximately 40 seconds remaining by stuffing Spahr from close range. With only four players returning from last season, the Ramblers are going through a learning process, but Merrill was encouraged by the second half.

“We’re still trying to figure things out, especially in our midfield,” Merrill said. “We’re kind of learning as we go right now, because we’ve got so many new spots, and so many girls with first-year varsity experience. We had lots of opportunities. Those will start to come, the more we start to believe in ourselves that we can do it.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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