By Michael James LeClair

Katie Piccioli at Oct. 20 game against Shepherd Hill.                        
Katie Piccioli at Oct. 20 game against Shepherd Hill.

The champs will be back in the ring with a chance to defend their title.

The Nashoba Regional girls’ soccer team, who captured the Central Mass. Division 1 Tournament, last year, will be postseason bound when the pairings are announced late next week. Before the Chieftains can worry about who and where they’ll be playing they must finish the task at hand, the remainder of the regular season.

Nashoba welcomed Mid-Wach A foe Shrewsbury to Bolton on Thursday night looking to pick up two very important points in the standings and in the process fine tune their game with less than a week to play in the regular season.

The Chieftains came out and took care of business against the Colonials as Nashoba notched a 5-1 victory on Senior Night.

With the win Nashoba improves to 9-4-2 overall and 3-3-1 in Mid-Wach A. Shrewsbury falls to 2-10-3 overall and 0-8 in the league.

“Our girls work really hard and we try to do some really nice things out there on the field,” said Nashoba head coach Renee Moulton after the win. “The goals haven’t come easy for us all year so I tell the girls to just keep pushing forward and to not stop. There are girls that really stepped up and said that they could do this.”

Nashoba has three games left on the regular season slate, two of which are on the road. The Chieftains visit Wachusett Regional and Leominster with a home match against Algonquin Regional sandwiched in between. Needing 18 points to earn a postseason berth Nashoba currently has 20 points on the season. With three games and six points left on the table you can guarantee the Chieftains will be fighting for each and every one of them as a single point could mean the difference between a home playoff game and having to board a bus and travel.

“We are working everyday to continue to get better and improve at finishing around the net,” Moulton. “Over the final three regular season games we’re going to continue to work to get better at both ends of the field, offensively and defensively. One area we want to try and improve is stepping out towards our opponents and preventing them from getting the shot off on our net. We’re still in the process of figuring things out but I can say that this is a great group of girls to be around and work with.”

As for Thursday night’s contest, the Chieftains used a dominating second half to put away an upset minded Colonials team. The Chieftains drew first blood during the 12th minute with Piccioli’s first goal of the game before Collins answered for the Colonials 10 minutes later.

With the game then deadlocked at one through the next 40 minutes, the Chieftains struck four times in the second half to account for the final tally.

Nashoba’s Katie Piccioli led the host’s offense with two goals, both assisted by Alana Carlucci. Ashlyn MacLure also added two assists for the Chieftains.

Carlucci, Katelyn Keane and Caity Curtis added goals for Nashoba while Shrewsbury’s Haley Collins scored off a corner kick from Rebecca Paddock in the first half.

Nashoba goalie Ashley Spellman made the lead stand up as she turned all but one shot she faced to preserve the win.
In the matinee contest, the Nashoba boys’ soccer team dug itself an early hole when visiting Shrewsbury netted the lone goal of the first half. The Chieftains needed a second half rally and Jasper Yang did just that. Yang buried a shot into the back of the net during the second half to help the Chieftains escape with a 1-1 tie.

With the tie the Chieftains improved to 3-7-5 overall on the season and 0-3-5 in Mid-Wach A while the Colonials upped their record to 3-4-8 overall and 1-1-6 in the league.