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Pole position

Walpole (Mass.) field hockey keeps dynasty in tact

Posted: Thursday September 20, 2007 4:25PM; Updated: Thursday September 20, 2007 4:36PM
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From left to right: Deirdre Quinn, Emily Charpentier, Nikki
Panciocco and Kim Cunniff lead the Walpole field hockey team.
From left to right: Deirdre Quinn, Emily Charpentier, Nikki Panciocco and Kim Cunniff lead the Walpole field hockey team.
Tracy Powell/RISE
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Like the Catholic Memorial boys' hockey team, the Barnstable girls' volleyball team and the Andover girls' swimming team, the Walpole (Mass.) field hockey team is synonymous with domination.

The Porkers (a nearly 40-year-old nickname used only by the school's field hockey team) have won a Massachusetts record 10 state championships and have alumni at colleges across the country and even on the U.S. National Team (1998 graduate Dina Rizzo).

The 2007 Walpole squad will have many holes to fill after last year's group won title No. 10, but coach Marianne Murphy hardly expects a rebuilding season.

"These girls always step it up for me," says the fifth-year coach. "Walpole players are known for their strong work ethic, so I'm sure everyone will be hungry for another championship."

Bay State League All-Star Kim Cunniff leads the returnees and will anchor the defense as the central back. Seniors Deirdre Quinn and Danielle Hatch will support Cunniff on the back line while classmates Emily Charpentier and Nikki Panciocco are the team's key returnees in the midfield. Senior Megan Brady, a vital reserve last fall, will be the team's most experienced forward this season.

"No team at Walpole wants to be the one that falls below the standard the previous teams have set," Murphy says. "So even though this might not be our most experienced group, I know the girls have the same expectations as every team that has come before them."

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