By Michael James LeClair
When girls’ soccer powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury comes to your house, you know you’re in for a battle; the Nashoba Regional team can tell you all about it.
The Warriors made the voyage down Route 117 on Saturday night and gave the hosts all they could handle, striking for four goals in the opening 40 minutes as they notched a 4-1 victory under the Nashoba Turf Field lights.
Nashoba opened the season on Sept. 8 with a 3-0 win over Quabbin. The loss to L-S brings them to 1-1. Lincoln-Sudbury improves to 3-0 on the young season.
“They’re a great team; they reached the state semifinals last year just like us. They have some tremendous players on their roster just like we do,” said Nashoba head coach Renee Moulton following the contest. “Lincoln-Sudbury works really hard and they came in here and played well tonight.”
The Warriors and Chieftains were among the final four teams in the state of Massachusetts last year as both reached the state semifinals. Lincoln-Sudbury, the Division 1 North champion, and Nashoba, the Division 1 Central champion, each fell in the semifinal round to prevent a second meeting between the two teams to wrap up the 2014 season.
Saturday night’s match is the only scheduled meeting between the two teams this season. If the two squads were to play each other again this year, it would be in the Massachusetts Division 1 State Finals.
As for Saturday night’s contest, the Warriors used a strong opening 40 minutes to seize control of the match. L-S drew first blood during the 22nd minute of action before adding three more tallies past the Nashoba defense and senior goalkeeper Ashley Spellman.
A four-goal deficit is not something these Chieftains have been used to over the past couple seasons. When asked how she and her team approached the second half of Saturday’s contest, Moulton didn’t hesitate.
“We talked about how to approach the second half. We talked about the score not mattering. We couldn’t go back and change the way we played. We wanted to put the first half behind us and focus on playing better and putting in a better effort in the second half,” said the Nashoba second-year head coach. “I thought in the second half we were a completely different team. I was very happy with what I saw in the second half. The girls stepped to balls and moved off of balls, they worked together and were a completely different team.”
Nashoba kept their guests off the scoreboard during the second half and, as Moulton said, raised the level of play.
Nashoba was finally able to cash in late in the second half. At the 77-minute mark Junior Danielle Scafidi was awarded a direct kick from just under 30 yards away from the Lincoln-Sudbury net.
Scafidi’s perfectly placed boot found the right corner of the net, just off the fingertips of the Warriors’ goalkeeper and under the crossbar to make it 4-1 and break up the shutout bid.
“It was nice to cash in and get one there at the end. It felt good. To be able to put one in so that we didn’t finish the game with an empty scoreboard was very nice to see,” said Moulton. “Danielle made a great kick. It was a perfect ball and she placed it really well.”
Moulton made sure to use Saturday’s end result as a learning experience for her squad that graduated 10 players from last year’s Central Massachusetts championship run.
“Like I said to the girls a few minutes ago, a loss tonight is a real learning tool,” said Moulton. “We walk away and come back to practice next week ready to fix some of the issues that we need to work on.”
The Nashoba head coach was pleased with the effort of several of her players on Saturday night despite coming up short on the scoreboard. The play of individuals like Scafidi, Grace Keith, Keagan Castles and Marissa Kelberman were highlights for the Chieftains.