Girls’ soccer team ties A-B, qualifies for state tournament

By Denebola
Published: October 2008

1sports.jpgBy Jon Ostrowsky

The girls’ soccer team tied Acton-Boxboro, the second ranked team in the nation, last Friday.

The Lions, who have an 8-1-7 record, faced off against the Colonials, who were playing without offensive superstar Hayley Brock. Each team scored a goal a piece in the first half. Offensive production halted in the second half resulting in a final score of 1-1.

The Acton-Boxboro Colonials, the defending state champions, were also ranked second in the country in the October 21st list of the ESPN RISE FAB 50 National Girls Soccer Rankings, a ranking that will likely drop in this week’s poll after their tie with South.

Sophomore Hannah Nussbaum scored South’s only goal in the 25th minute, but about 30 seconds later Acton-Boxboro scored off of the kickoff. In the second-half, senior goalie Sam Tye saved a shot aimed for the lower-right hand corner of the goal, potentially saving South from a tough loss.

“We were really pumped up and we played really well as a team, senior Patty Yee said.

Both Acton Boxboro and Newton South are part of a top group, known as the “Big Four in the DCL, which also consists of Westford Academy and Lincoln-Sudbury.

Led by Senior Captains Lauren Hollender and Niki Sholemson, the Lions rely on their depth and the strength of their eight seniors to help the team.

The team plays stronger on defense than offense, and is working hard in practice to improve their scoring.

“[Playing] soccer six days a week shows how dedicated our team is. We’re really working on taking shots from far out and [working on] good communication, Yee said.

In late August, the team prepared for the season by practicing from 9-12 everyday with an occasional second practice in the afternoon. After several scrimmages in the preseason, the Lions gained useful experience for their regular season.

“We have a lot of players who can play multiple positions, and with so many players who can adjust, it helps us out a lot, Hollender said.

The team will need to be especially ready to adjust this year after losing four key players from last year’s roster, two of whom were unexpected.

Bridget Dahlberg did not play this year in order to run on the cross-country team, and improve as one of the state’s top distance runners. Lauren Kee transferred to Miltion Academy on a hockey scholarship and Kyle Remey and Elerie Burke both suffered season ending injuries during preseason.

“We went in thinking we had lost two [players and] we lost four.¯ We’re definitely going to miss playing with them, Hollender said.

“Those losses create opportunities for others, Coach Doug McCarthy said.

Under head coach Doug McCarthy, and Assistant Coaches Owen Pennant Jones and Matt Koch, the Lions hope to improve on a second-round loss in the state tournament last year to Whitman-Hansen.

After beating Notre Dame of Hingham 2-0 in the tournament last year, the Lions lost to the Whitman Hansen squad, who had a 19-0 record and were the fourth best team in the nation.

“If the girls work hard in practice and give everything they have in games, then wins and losses will take care of themselves, McCarthy said.

“I think his passion for the game, [his] intensity, and his intentions for a successful season have really pushed us to work our hardest this season, Sholemson said about McCarthy.

“Every year it’s just natural. We all become really close, said Hollender, commenting on the team’s chemistry.

Several girls on the team will likely have the opportunity to play soccer at a Division 3 Varsity level in college, but many are still unsure of their future plans. Focusing on their upcoming task, Hollender and Sholemson hope to lead the Lions to a successful run in the state tournament.

“[Niki and Lauren have] been really supportive and nice, and really good at communicating between the team and the coaches. They are the key connector to the coaches, Yee said.

“Niki and Lauren are excellent captains. They lead by example and the younger players follow their lead, McCarthy said.

“100 percent of the time, everybody is a leader on the team. Everybody sort of believes in their own way on this team, which is great, Hollender said.

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