Maybe new coach Emerson Coleman should tell his team to save some goals for later in the year.
After routing Quincy, 9-0, in their season opener, and dominating Hingham, 6-0, in their Patriot League opener on Saturday morning in Duxbury, it’s hard to believe anyone has the firepower or defense to keep the Lady Dragons from walking through their 2008 season.
But Coleman has been around way too long to know that big early-season wins over inferior opponents can work against a team too.
“I’m not really sure what their mindset is just yet,” said Coleman. “I’ve only been with them for such a short time and we are still learning about each other. I do know that many of them are still thinking about that loss to Rockland last year in the first round of the play-offs, and all of them never expected the season to end so early.”
Going deeper into the playoffs is certainly one of the team’s goals this year and it appears Coleman is walking into a situation that couldn’t be better for him or his Lady Dragons.
“This is a great place for me to be right now,” said the former boys’ coach of Plymouth North and former Duxbury girls’ JV coach. “The girls have been assimilating me into the system from the moment I got here just over a month ago. The reception I have gotten had been incredible.”
For their kindness the players are getting one of the more experienced and successful coaches around, and one who should be able to guide this talented group of players toward a successful season.
Coleman has already seen that he has a trio of explosive players in sophomore Melissa Gavin, junior Caitlin Burke, and sophomore Emily Gallagher that will do some significant offensive damage to many Patriot League opponents.
“All these kids have played at the club level and have the ability to freelance and read off each other. They’ll have the most freedom of anyone on this team to take what the other team gives them and run with it,” said the first-year Duxbury coach.
Junior Jackie Trevisani will also have major role in the offense, as she will play up front as the target, holding onto the ball and patiently awaiting her midfielders to make their runs up top.
While the foursome controls the middle of the field, Coleman likes the advantages the Lady Dragons will have with senior Stacia Boynton and sophomore Jess Williams on the outside.
“Both these players will play wide and spread the field for us because their speed up and down the sidelines will be a major concern for our opponents.”
Defensively, Duxbury will have senior captain Tristen Chin at outside back, sophomore Lauren Grady at stopper, and senior Liz Desmond at outside back.
“Basically these kids will be responsible for marking the other team’s top players, but they’ll also have the green light to move the ball up field,” said Coleman. “Our safety valve will be sophomore sweeper Meghan Woomer, who’ll sit back there and cover up for anyone else’s mistakes, but will also have the responsibility of starting the offense and coming out with the ball.”
The last line of defense is goal and Coleman thinks he has found a solid one for the next three years.
“Emily Brooks (sophomore) is a very athletic kid and has shown plenty of confidence so far. She’s handled everything cleanly and I haven’t seen any flaws in her game yet.”
While Duxbury’s starting lineup looks set, it doesn’t mean that other players will be sitting on the bench observing.
“I like to have my starting group, and then I like to have my sub packages. We can do it here because of the quality and depth of the kids in this program. This way we get more kids involved in what we are doing and we can use it to our advantage to wear other teams down,” said Coleman.While watching the Lady Dragons destroy Hingham over the weekend, it was obvious there isn’t much of a drop-off when his first sub package of sophomore midfielder Jess Williams, sophomore forward Hanna Dwinell, freshman midfielder Madi Lawson, and freshman Midfielder Lily Peterson head onto the field.
The scoring distribution in the first two games alone gives a preview of just what may be in store for the Duxbury offense during the season.
Burke (5), Gallagher (3), Galvin (2) were on their game with 10 goals, while Trevisani, Lawson, Boynton, senior Monica Chandler, and junior Meg Muncey also got on the board.
“Muncey is also part of my sub package,” said Coleman. “She’s a very smart player and brings a lot of energy to her game. She’s the type of player every team needs if they want to win.”
Other players who will try to work their way into the lineup on a regular basis include: seniors Jen Baran, Carly Donovan, and captain Sarah Wooley, juniors Taryn McCall and Ashley Magnuson, sophomores Katie Finocchiaro, Lorin Gerraughty, and Jenna Cusick (goalie), along with freshman Sarah Jones.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with these kids trying to differentiate the difference between being a good team and a great team,” said Coleman. “I think we’re a very good team now. Now we have to see if we have the willingness to work at it so we can become a great team.”
After a pair of easy wins, the road now gets tougher for the Lady Dragons, who can prove they have the willingness to be a great team with two league games this week, followed by an early season showdown with a loaded Whitman-Hanson squad on Monday night at 6:30 in Duxbury.