Sandwich Girls' Soccer Advances To Semifinals

Maddie LaRochelleGENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE - Maddie LaRochelle

It was a slow start by two teams well familiar with each other Monday as the fifth-seeded Blue Knight girls’ soccer team (13-2-5) hosted 13th-seeded Plymouth North (8-6-6) in MIAA Division 2 South Sectional quarterfinal play. The two Atlantic Coast League foes faced off twice during the regular season with the Knights winning the first match 1-0 and then tying in the second meeting at 1-1.

Before the first half ended Monday, Sandwich held a 2-0 lead and would go on to finish with a 3-0 victory. The Knights advanced to semifinal action last night against top seeded Scituate (17-1-2) at Canton High School.

Early defense by Rachel Lake and Catie Wojnar stopped the Eagles in the opening minutes, then both teams settled down in a back-and-forth battle that lasted until the 35th minute, when Caroline McKenna broke away up the middle and outran the Plymouth defense, firing a bouncing ball into the left side of the net from about 25 yards out. Two minutes later Maddie LaRochelle collected her first postseason marker when she took a cross from Lea Adams and got it past the Plymouth keeper.

LaRochelle then opened the second half for the Knights with a blast that slammed off the crossbar. McKenna followed up with a shot, but then the Eagles went on the offensive.
Hailey Whelan, Liz Wegman, Jessica Lizotte, Lake and Wojnar stood up to the Plymouth pressure and SHS keeper Maggie LeVangie made a nice diving save. The physical battle continued until with 6:55 left in the game Adams received a cross in front of the Plymouth goal from McKenna and from about 5 yards out buried the ball in the back of the net for a three goal Sandwich lead.

The Eagles didn’t go away, they fought to the final whistle, but the Blue Knights defense proved to be more than they could handle.
Penalty kicks are a tough way to end any state tournament game. After 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime it reduces the game to who can score the most point blank goals.

Sunday afternoon in a well played first-round state tournament match by both the Knights and visiting 12th-seeded Westwood the score was tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation. After two 10-minute overtime periods it still stood at 1-all leaving the determination of a winner to penalty kicks. Five players from each team, selected by the coaches, to take the PK’s with the team scoring the most being declared the winner.

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Sandwich took the first kick in the shootout with McKenna drilling the left corner of the net. Westwood came up next and missed to the left. Becca Mandy then stepped to the mark for the Knights and also hit inside the left post putting Sandwich up 2-0. Westwood’s Madeline Radner then got one past SHS keeper Maggie LeVangie. Sandwich’s Isabella Collentro slammed her shot off the cross bar and then LeVangie came up with a big save on a shot by Westwood’s McKenna Lupica. Adams gave the Knights a 3-1 advantage with a shot inside the left post and then after the next Westwood shot hit inside the top of the net. Wojnar put the game away with a solid shot into the left side giving Sandwich a 2-1 win with a 4-2 advantage in PKs.

The first-round battle began with McKenna putting the Knights up 1-0 in the eighth minute off a beautiful lead pass from Stef Briggs. Bringing the ball down the right side, Briggs lofted the ball ahead to McKenna, who was able to run under the pass and drive the ball into the far left corner of the net.

Westwood had a couple of chances, once off a corner and another in the 26th minute that LeVangie made a diving save to stop. LeVangie blocked another shot in the 34th minute and then benefited from some solid defense by Lake and Whelan who broke up a couple of Wolverine chances.

Westwood landed the equalizer 10 minutes into the second half on a long shot by Rachel McClure that sailed over the outstretched reach of SHS keeper Kasey Noonan. Three minutes later Noonan stopped a McClure shot and then made a leaping save as McClure came right back with another bid.

The Knights had their best chance at a second goal with 11:50 remaining in the match on a loose ball in front of the Westwood net with Mandy and McKenna each getting off a shot.
Westwood turned up the heat in the final eight minutes, but Noonan turned back both Wolverine shots.

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