Doc Rivers would be happy if his Celtics could rebound like the Duxbury girlsâ€™ soccer team.
A come-from-behind win over Silver Lake and a come-from behind tie with New Bedford has Coach Emerson Coleman convinced his team is never out of any game.
Taking on No. 1 ranked Whitman-Hanson last Wednesday night in Duxbury, the Lady Dragons almost pulled it off again before falling to the Panthers, 2-1.
It was Duxburyâ€™s second one-goal loss of the season to W-H, but showed the coaching staff and all the other teams in their division that the Lady Dragons will be tough competition come tournament time.
The Panthers are a scary thought with national team player Sam Mewis on the field, and it didnâ€™t take long to show it. After a Panther rush and an eventual corner kick, Mewis was stationed 10 yards out to goalkeeper Emily Brookâ€™s left and blasted a shot into the top right corner for a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into the contest.
At the 33:55 mark the Lady Dragons finally got their first offensive threat when Melissa Gavin came down her left wing and fired a shot on netminder Leah Pappalardo. It would be one of the few chances Duxbury would get in the first half, as keeping Mewis under wraps would be their primary concern.
MacKenzie Hatfield was also a force for the Panthers, and she showed it with a move down the right side that resulted in a W-H corner with 19:15 remaining in the half. The pressure was now on in the Duxbury end, and the Panthers were awarded a direct kick with 17:40 showing on the clock. Mewis lined it up from 23 yards out and blasted her shot, almost knocking Brook back into the net as the shot glanced off her hands for a 2-0 lead.
Mewis would have three more testing chances the rest of the half, but the Duxbury backfield of Charlotte Cipolletti, Devan Bahr, and Meghan Woomer kept the game from becoming a runaway and Duxburyâ€™s hopes for a comeback alive.
â€œI thought Meg Woomer was outstanding,â€ said Coleman. â€œShe stepped up and sacrificed her body, made great decisions, and covered for her teammates. I also think Laura Nee did a great job of marking Mewis.â€
Trailing and overcoming the No. 1 team in Eastern Mass. was a daunting task, yet it didnâ€™t seem to bother the Lady Dragons, who immediately went on the offensive in the second half with an adjustment in its offensive alignment.
A rush by Emily Gallagher and a centering pass to Melissa Galvin seemed to find some holes in the W-H defense in the first few minutes, and the Lady Dragons continued to pursue that strategy, as Hanna Dwinnell came down the right wing and centered a pass through to the center of the field where Galvin ran it down and beat Pappalardo to cut the margin to 2-1.
Duxbury was pumped up with its newfound confidence, but the specter of Mewis was always lurking, and it took just two minutes for her to almost thrust the dagger into the heart of Lady Dragons, only to have Cipolletti make a shot-saving tackle.
The action now became two-sided, as Duxbury had a shot poked over the net by Pappalardo that resulted in a corner kick. The subsequent kick came out front, forcing the Panther netminder to make a diving save.
Brook responded with a diving save of her own, then sending the ball up field and allowing the Lady Dragons to turn the tide and fire two shots on net that rattled off the crossbar.
It was the closest Duxbury would get the rest of the way.
â€œI thought we had a good first half, but I thought our second half was the best of the year,â€ said Coleman. â€œItâ€™s all about who you are playing. You can have good halves where you are whipping 4 or 5 goal in the net, but that was just a great game. I think we were able to put pressure on Mewisâ€™ teammates in the second half. You arenâ€™t going to be able to fluster her. You have to get to her teammates and I think we did that in the second half.â€
Now sporting a 12-3-1 record, the girls will end regular-season play on Friday when they entertain Bishop Fenwick at 4 p.m.