Gateway Girls Defeat Lee in Western Mass Semis

By Shannon Sports
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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- The No.3 Lee Wildcats fell to No. 2 Gateway 4-0 Wednesday evening in the semi-finals of the Division 4 Western Massachusetts girls soccer tournament at Northampton High School.
The Wildcats maintained possession throughout the first half, but didn’t have many shots on net. The Gateway defensive line continued to push them out of their defensive end, making it difficult for Lee to create those scoring opportunities.
Lee also lost center midfielder Nikki Loudon, an essential part of its offensive game, to injury.
“Nikki is our center midfielder,” Lee coach Lauren Finnegan said. “She’s that heart and soul of the middle, when she came out we were doing a lot of scrambling to fill her spot.”
The game was scoreless at the end of the first half; both ends had limited shots on net.
“We just wanted to try and fill the hole that she [Loudon] left,” Finnegan said about going into the second half. “She was an integral part of our offense. Losing her was tough, and they did what they could.”
The Wildcats were looking to create more offense, but without Loudon in the center, they lost their play maker.
With 27 minutes, 59 seconds remaining, Gateway put in their first goal off a cross from Samantha Belardo to Jessica Van Heynigan.
From their Gateway didn’t look back.
“After that first goal our girls didn’t play our game,” Finnegan said. “That’s not the game we usually play, and Gateway is a tough defending team.”
After Gateway put in the first goal it took over possession of the game; Lee had limited opportunities to put the ball on net and they began to play more defensively.
Gateway put in three more goals from Alyssa Moreau, Van Heynigan, and Belardo to leave the final score at 4-0.
Gateway now advances to the finals of the Division 4 Western Mass tournament, where it will face Monson on Sunday.
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