by Kristian Lundberg
In the quarterfinals of the State Tournament Tuesday at Lincoln-Sudbury, girls’ soccer’s loss could very well be attributed to their inconsistency—and a pair of unfortunately timed own goals.
Despite second-half tallies from junior Shannon Fitzgerald and sophomore Anna Nesgos, the Tigers were unable to save their season after digging themselves into an early two-goal hole, eventually succumbing 4-2 in a game in which they mostly dominated over the course of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Lincoln-Sudbury benefited early from two own goals by the Tigers, with both coming from set-pieces played into the box. The first goal, set up by a dangerous free kick lobbed into the penalty area by Lincoln-Sudbury junior Leah McCullough, put the Warriors on the scoreboard within the first five minutes. Seconds later junior forward Kate Spiegel’s equally threatening corner kick benefited from an unlucky North deflection to double the Warriors’ lead. Barely 10 minutes in, the Tigers found themselves losing 2-0 and fighting for their survival.
To their credit, the Tigers responded well to their two setbacks. Almost immediately after the second own goal, the Tigers, keyed by strong midfield play from seniors Jordyn Matthews and Madison Nadeau and junior Christina Callahan, began to mount a sustained offense, controlling the bulk of possession and keeping the Warriors pinned in the their defensive third.
Stifled for the remainder of the first half by airtight Warriors’ defense, the Tigers finally found their breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half. Nesgos, a prolific scorer all season long, netted her second goal of this postseason in the 55th minute to cut the margin in half. Down 2-1 and needing just one more score to complete the comeback, the Tigers redoubled their efforts on offense, searching for the all-important equalizer.
Yet the Warriors maintained their composure and launched a devastatingly effective counterattack, culminating in the first of two goals for Lincoln-Sudbury senior Cassidy Boegel just before the hour mark. The Tigers continued to press after Boegel’s strike but to no avail, with Boegel eventually adding her second in the 78th minute to extend the Warriors’ lead to 4-1.
Her insurance goals would prove to be the difference. In the 80th minute Fitzgerald narrowed the Warriors’ advantage to two after following up a loose ball from junior Angela Ward’s screamer off the crossbar, but that was it for the normally high-octane Tigers offense.
For the Tigers, it was a frustrating end to a season that had shown much promise, including a 4-0 rout of powerhouse Needham to close the regular season Tuesday, Oct. 23, and much erratic play, including a home loss to a mediocre Framingham side Friday, Sept. 21.
The Tigers advanced to face Lincoln-Sudbury in the quarterfinals after a 4-1 rout of Masconomet at home Sunday in the second round. Ward registered two goals and Fitzgerald and junior Leah Howard each added one to lead the Tigers to victory.