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|Girls stun Oliver Ames|
|Monday, 17 November 2008 16:38|
Things are certainly going green for the Lady Dragons soccer team, but it isnâ€™t because of wind power.
Battling gusty winds and cold temperatures, the girlsâ€™ soccer team withstood a second-half surge by the defending Division II state champions and left the field with a 1-0 win over Oliver Ames HS of Easton, sending Duxbury to the EMass finals against Belmont.
Duxbury went into the wind in the first half, but managed to out-hustle the Tigers in the early minutes of the game with sophomore Melissa Gavin and junior Caitlin Burke putting pressure on the OA defense.
The Tigers would turn things around moments later with a corner to the left of Duxbury keeper Emily Brook and a shot that forced the sophomore to come out of her net into a crowd.
The back and forth action continued, as Burke redirected a centering pass over the OA net, and the Tigers responded a minute later by firing a shot that went cleanly through the box.
At the 23:21 mark, Burke would have Duxburyâ€™s best scoring bid of the game, as she walked in from the left side and rifled a shot just outside the post that hit the side of the net.
Despite the wind disadvantage, the Lady Dragons continued to get their opportunities. But so did the Tigers, who shot a screamer towards Brook that was headed over the net with 17:28 to go in the half.
Duxbury would finally break the stalemate four minutes later when a shot was deflected toward sophomore Emily Gallagher, who buried her shot to the left of Oliver Ames goalkeeper Alexis Duffy-Protentis for what would prove to be the game-winner.
â€œGetting that goal against the wind was huge,â€ said Coach Emerson Coleman.
The Lady Dragons had another stellar opportunity with nine minutes left in the half, but Gavinâ€™s direct kick from 20 yards out sailed over the crossbar and left the underdogs with a 1-0 halftime lead.
Colemanâ€™s team had the wind to its back as the second half started, but like the first 40 minutes, it didnâ€™t seem to matter.
Oliver Ames earned a pair of corners in the first five minutes, but the big blow was the loss of Hannah Dwinnell for the remainder of the game, as she was carried from the field with an injury.
When play resumed, the Tigers had momentum on their side, sending a shot over the net, earning a corner, and watching a screamer go right through the box.
Duxbury would make a short-lived rush of its own to break the pressure, but OA was right back in the Duxbury end within seconds.
â€œWe lost our momentum a couple of times with the two injuries,â€ said Coleman. â€œWe got going again, then Hannah got hurt and the OA kid got hurt, so things really didnâ€™t get going until the final 20 minutes of the half.â€
Thanks to the work of senior defenders Tristen Chin and Sarah Wooley, the intensity of the Oliver Ames pressure began to subside midway through the second half, as the Lady Dragons began to move the play to the Tigersâ€™ end of the field.
A Gavin to Burke dish-off sailed over the net at the 14:23 mark, and a Duxbury corner flattened Duffy-Protentis with 6:40 to go in the game, forcing Oliver Ames Coach Britt Sellmayer to go to his bench.
An OA time out with 3:19 on the clock was an attempt to organize the Tigersâ€™ offense for one last run, but the Lady Dragon defense was up to the task, thwarting every surge into the zone and earning the team a berth in Wednesday nightâ€™s finals.
â€œI know the papers have been giving Melissa Gavin and Caitlin Burke a lot of notoriety because they have been in the top 10 scorers, but our constant has been the defense,â€ said Coleman. â€œEmily Brook had another solid game, and even in the games we lost our team defense only gave up one goal and gave us a chance to win. Our defense kept us in the game in the first half and I liked our chances with the wind in the second.â€
The finals will match two programs rich in soccer tradition, but who were seeded low when the tournament began. Belmont came in with an 11-4-3 record and was seeded eighth in the North, while Duxbury was the #12 seed with an 11-6-1 record.
Belmontâ€™s road to the finals includes a 2-1 win over #1 seed Danvers (16-1-1) and a clinching victory over #3 seed Reading (13-1-4), while the Lady Dragons have knocked off two league champions in Holliston (Tri-Valley) and Wellesley (Bay State-Small), along with dethroning the DII state champs.