Wahconah Girls Soccer Falls in State Semis
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- It didn’t take long for Central Massachusetts champion Nipmuc to heat up Tuesday evening at a bitter cold Westfield State University.
Thirty-seven seconds into the game, Boston College commit Gabby Carreiro hit her first of four goals for the evening, giving Nipmuc an early 1-0 lead in the state semi-finals against Western Mass champions Wahconah.
“They’re good, they’re better than we expected,” Wahconah coach Pat West said. “Number 15 [Carreiro] is just a real quality player it’s no wonder she’s going where she’s going, and they’re fast and they move the ball sharp.”
West couldn’t be more accurate with his post-game observations. Nipmuc can play soccer; quality soccer at that. It maintained possession throughout the first half and defensively they didn’t allow Wahconah one shot on net compared to Nipmuc's eight.
With 12:14 remaining in the first, Nipmuc set up for a free kick about 30 yards out. Carreiro sent a ball up over the Wahconah defense that Leah Fitzgerald got a foot on, putting the score at 2-0 going into the second half.
“We moved some offense up,” West said about going into the second half. “For a few minutes we thought we had something there, but we knew we gave up some defense when we did it and we got burned over and over because of our fewer defenders and that’s those three goals in the second half.”
The first of the three second half goals came four minutes in when Carreiro took a corner kick; the ball she sent in deflected off a player right back to her feet; from there she did what she did all night. She carried the ball to open space and let one go -- one that went right over the head of Wahconah goal Jamie Downer, putting the score at 3-0.
Carreiro’s last two goals came with 28:29 on clock after she beat Wahconah’s last defender and went 1 on 1 with Downer and then at 24:18 after going down in the box and being rewarded a penalty kick, finishing it to leave the final score at 5-0.
Although the Wahconah girls' season ended on Tuesday, its players have a lot to hold their heads high about, especially their tournament play. Wahconah got through to the state semi-finals with a 1-0 win over Granby this past Saturday, with the goal coming late in the second half. In their semi-final game they were almost upset by No.5 Sabis, but senior Katie Dumas and sophomore Emmy Cote showed late heroics putting in two goals in the final 3:19 of the game for a 2-1 win.
“These girls are such wonderful, hardworking kids,” West said. “I mean we didn’t just start August 21st, these guys did cross fit all summer, and they came in in such great shape and such great attitudes. You cannot imagine having a better team.”
“I just love these kids and this is a hard way to end.”
West knew from the start of pre-season that this group of girls was something special, finishing with 17 wins and a Western Massachusetts title and making it to the state semi-finals for the first time since 2009.
With the 5-0 win for Nipmuc, it advances to the state finals at Worcester Polytechnic on Saturday. It will face the winner of Lynnfield and Dedham, who face-off Wednesday evening at Brockton High School.