On to Playoffs for Girls Soccer
By Jess Thomas
The Nashoba Girls Soccer team picked up their 12th victory of the season on Thursday night, knocking off Algonquin Regional, 3-2, on a rainy and windy evening at Nashoba Regional High School.
After a 1-2-1 start to the season, the Chieftains have been on fire, going 11-1-1 since Sept. 18. Nashoba has outscored opponents 51-15 through Thursday this season.
Their second tie of the year happened to be against this same Tomahawk team on Sept. 27, with the game ending in a 1-1 stalemate. Algonquin came into Thursday’s game with nine wins of their own.
Nashoba exacted revenge on Algonquin this week, scoring three goals in the first 13:08 and then holding off a comeback in the second half.
Algonquin’s Carly Damelio missed a shot that hit the top of the goal just over three minutes into the wet ballgame and the Chieftains took control from that point.
With 34:18 left in the first half, Nashoba senior midfielder and captain Kylie Lance connected with the first goal of the game that came off a cross from senior forward/midfielder Hanna Konash. The ball bounced off a few bodies before Lance knocked it home.
Just two minutes later, Lance put the Chieftains up 2-0 with a strong unassisted angled shot from the left side that sailed over the goalkeeper’s head, landing in the right corner of the net.
With 26:52 left in the half, senior captain and forward Sarah Clopeck lofted the ball over a defender and Konash delivered a goal with her head to take what seemed like a commanding 3-0 lead.
“It was really good to get out early and score goals,” first-year Nashoba head coach Renee Moulton said. “It’s really good for our confidence.
“Some high points have been watching the team come together and really start to work together as a team and fight for each other. We are starting to get some good movement of the ball, which is helping us manufacture some goals,” Moulton said.
Nashoba almost got a fourth goal two minutes later, as senior forward Amber Gustafson knocked the ball away from the Algonquin goalie, but couldn’t convert on the left-footed kick.
The Chieftains’ defense acted as a brick wall for the first 26 minutes, not letting the Tomahawks get many productive shots off, led by junior defenders Courtney Aylaian and Marissa Kelberman.
Algonquin got on the board with 14:02 left in the first half when Caroline Leonard received a pass from Abbie Reynolds and slipped the ball past Nashoba goalkeeper, junior Ashley Spellman.
At the end of the first half and into the second half, Algonquin dominated the ball, getting off many shots on goal. Moulton sees this as a focus point for her varsity club.
“I didn’t think we played well, the way we should play (pass, move, keep the ball on the ground),” Moulton said. “We sort of gave into the kick and run and that’s not to our advantage, that’s not the kind of game that we need to play.
“But our defense played phenomenal… They cleaned up the mistakes they made and we’re good to go.”
Algonquin scored just 1:36 into the second half from the benefit of a corner kick. The ball was bounced around in front of Nashoba’s goal before Caroline McAndrews made the score 3-2 in favor of the Chieftains.
The dominant Nashoba defense took over from that point on, not allowing Algonquin to get many good looks in the last 35 minutes.
The team kept the clock ticking and delivered a 3-2 win to its drenched and excited fan base. Nashoba is now 8-0 at home this season. Six of those wins were shutouts.
Despite a very successful season and solid victory, Moulton wants the team to be able to sustain their success for the entire 80-minute game without mental lapses and dips in production.
“Consistent play and continuing to work to get better as a team defensively,” Moulton said of her goals. “We attack as a team, we defend as a team.”
Nashoba honored its nine seniors on their last home game on Monday, which they won handily, 6-0, against North Middlesex. Now it is time for the playoff tournament.
Moulton said, “The tournament will start sometime over the weekend. We get a little break, but lots to work on.”