Update-Girls’ Soccer heading to the state championship!
The combination of senior leadership, stellar goaltending, team defense and timely scoring has led the Nashoba girls’ soccer team to the Division 1 state championship game. The Chieftains will face Eastern Mass. champion Central Catholic of Lawrence at Lynn’s historic Manning Bowl at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
With an 11-3-4 regular season record, Nashoba earned the No. 2 seed in the Central Mass. playoffs. The Chieftains rolled to a 4-0 win over Shrewsbury in the quarterfinals behind two goals from freshman Abby McNulty and one each from Danielle Scafidi and Grace Keith. Theresa Don posted the shutout.
Nashoba followed up that win with a thrilling 2-1 win over Marlboro. The Chieftains jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Alana Carlucci and McNulty, but needed some superb play from the defense and Don to hold off the Panthers, who mounted a furious comeback attempt over the final 15 minutes. Don finished with 11 saves, while Keith and Scafidi both put in great defensive efforts.
The CMass final was an instant classic, as Nashoba knocked off top-seeded Wachusett, 1-0, in penalty kicks. Don was again the hero, making two saves in penalty kicks. She also had a penalty kick save in the 13th minute and came up with a number of other brilliant stops. Keith scored the winner to give the Chieftains their second CMass title in three years and earn them a trip to the state semifinals. Both Mariel MacAskill and Carlucci played solid games in the middle for the Chieftains.
In the state semis, the Chieftains got another total team performance to earn a 1-0 win over West Springfield. Don posted her third shutout of the postseason, while Taylor Rodriguez scored the game’s lone goal. Sarah Gillooly, Katie Piccioli, Sarah Teague, Lily Hammill, Jayne Conry and Keagan Castles also played strong games for the Chieftains.
This is the first state final appearance for girls’ soccer since 2012, when the Chieftains lost to Franklin, 2-1.
MIAA Division 1 State Final
Nashoba (Away Team) vs. Central Catholic (Home Team)
Location: Manning Field in Lynn (76 Locust Street)
Tickets: $10 for adults and $7 for students/senior citizens
*Look for updates on Saturday’s game on Facebook & website!
By Michael James LeClair
The Nashoba Regional girls’ soccer team is back on top in Central Massachusetts. After a quarterfinals exit in the 2015 postseason, the Chieftains regained the throne on Sunday evening.
The second-seeded Chieftains and top-seeded Wachusett Regional needed to go to penalty kicks to determine a winner. In the end, the Chieftains secured their third Central Massachusetts District 1 title in five years with a 1-0 win, 4-3 on penalty kicks at Nashoba Regional High School.
With the win Nashoba (14-3-4) moves on to the Massachusetts Division 1 State Semifinals where it will play the Western Mass. champion West Springfield (17-3-1) on Wednesday night at Nashoba Regional High School.
On Sunday, 100 minutes of soccer came and went with neither team finding the back of the net, 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime sessions failed to produce a winner.
The two squads traded goals in the first three rounds of penalty kicks. Neither team scored in the fourth round but Nashoba’s Grace Keith gave the Chieftains the win as she netted the game-winner in the fifth round.
Nashoba goalie Theresa Don was huge in the victory for the Chieftains making several gigantic saves in regulation and overtime to keep the contest scoreless.
In order to put themselves into a position to play for another Central Massachusetts title, the second-seeded Chieftains needed to win two playoff games against a pair of quality opponents.
Nashoba opened the postseason with a 4-0 win over seventh-seeded Shrewsbury in the quarterfinals on Nov. 8 at Nashoba Regional High School.
“The girls were really excited to play, we’ve been off for a while and the girls came out fired up and ready to go,” said Nashoba head coach Renee Moulton following Tuesday night’s win over the Colonials.
Nashoba’s Abby McNulty led the offense with two goals and an assist, both goals coming in the first four minutes of the first half. Danielle Scafidi and Grace Keith also scored for the Chieftains.
“I think every game, the stronger we come out, the better the result we have. We always get pumped up in the locker room and all of our seniors give speeches that really pump us up and get us ready to play,” said McNulty. “We knew coming in that it’s the playoffs now and if we didn’t win we’d be finished, so we wanted to come out and play well and keep our season going.”
Goalies Don and Jetta Oskirko combined for the shutout in the net for the Chieftains. Don got the start and faced two shots before being replaced by Oskirko with 28:40 remaining in the second half. Oskirko made one save during her work in the net.
“The girls have been working really hard,” Moulton said. “We have a very solid defensive line that we rotate some players in and out and they all do a fantastic job for us.”
Nashoba kicked things off with a bang in the early moments of the first half. McNulty put the hosts on the scoreboard during the third minute of action when she took a pass from Alana Carlucci and blasted it into the right corner of the net from 20 yards out for a quick 1-0 lead.
McNulty made it 2-0 a minute later, once again finding the right corner from 10 yards away on the left side. Mariel MacAskill was credited with the assist.
Nashoba would strike twice more before the halftime whistle and take a commanding 4-0 lead into intermission.
Scafidi made it a 3-0 lead during the 29th minute when McNulty sent a cross from the left corner to the left post where Scafidi buried the shot to expand the Nashoba advantage.
Keith capped the scoring with 3:55 left before halftime when she used her head to put home a corner kick from the left side. Grace Kiernan’s boot towards the front of the Shrewsbury goal was timed perfectly by Keith who knocked it past Shrewsbury goalie Cailin Zadravec to make it 4-0.
Nashoba finished Tuesday’s game with a 15-3 shots on goal advantage.
In the Nov. 10 semifinals against third-seeded Marlborough High School, Junior Alana Carlucci and McNulty scored as the Chieftains held off the Panthers 2-1 at Doyle Field in Leominster.
With the District trophy now in hand, Nashoba will face Springfield, the Western MA Div. 2 champs, at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday at Nashoba.