Golden Warriors Light Up Net Against Phillips Rivals

After graduating eleven seniors, the Girls Soccer team is going to have its fair share of learning experiences. Chalk the two losses to Williston and AHS up as just that. The girls kicked off their season with a home match against Williston North Hampton. In the first half, “there was a lot of confusion,” as defender and midfielder Becca Howe ’06 explained. WNH quickly pulled ahead of PA, scoring off a cross from the left side. WNH struck again on a corner kick, despite the best efforts of goalie Julie Wadland ’06. Heading the defense was sweeper Co-captain Allegra Asplundh-Smith ’04, with support from returning players Jessica Taggart ’05 and Jessie Birecki ’04, as well as new defenders Lexi Dwyer ’04, Martha Durant ’06, and Catherine Wright ’06. Taggart and Dwyer both had a notable presence on defense, and used their strong, fervent kicks to clear the ball. In the midfield, Cara Ruccolo ’05 successfully transitioned the ball from defense to offense and distinctly assumed an aggressive position on the field, consistently stepping up to meet the ball and using her quick feet to get around an opposing player. This was also seen in attack player Ali Holliday ’06, who, like Ruccolo, assumed a stronger offensive role than last year. Other standouts on the field were the resolute juniors, Kara Hollis, Emily Kennedy, and Katherine Lee-Kramer. All three played tight on their man and used speed and agility to keep in with the fast pace of the game. In spite of the efforts of all of these players and many others, the first half ended with PA down 2-0. PA attempted to step up play in the second half, to no avail. WNH still scored a third goal into the left corner of the net early on in the half. After repeated near misses, Andover hit the back of the net as Kennedy carried the ball into the box and pounded it past the goalie. Kennedy’s strike brought PA back into the game. However, the Lady Blue failed to get any closer, and the game ended 3-1. Taggart commented on the loss, “It was a tough game, mainly because we were getting used to playing a full ninety minutes with our newly formed team. Despite our loss, I felt it was a great beginning to our season – especially in the second half; we came together to work as a team and successfully dominated in our field play.” In their second game of the season, a scrimmage against AHS this past Wednesday, one could already notice an improvement in the team’s play. With increased playing time, Ruccolo and Taggart continued to use deft moves to clear the ball to the attack. With several close shots taken off corners kicked by Charlotte MacMillan ’05 and Kennedy, it was obvious that it would be a high-powered game. However, just like the WNH game, AHS pulled ahead first. The Golden Warriors outran the PA defense and scored an early goal. Coach Lisa Joel decided at that point to remove Wadland from goal and insert Melissa McDonald ’06. PA fought back as Wright sent a lofting ball over the goalie’s outstretched hands, evening the score at 1-1. The Lady Blue added a second goal and went into halftime with a 2-1 lead over their crosstown rivals. The second half, however, did not prove to be so successful for the Lady Blue. AHS easily scored five additional goals. Kennedy and Hollis did their best to keep PA in the game, each blasting home scores and cutting the deficit to two goals. However, it was all for naught, as the game ended 6-4 with Andover on the short end of the stick. Howe was hopeful for the future of the team, saying, “Every player is strongly committed to the team, and once we learn to work and flow together, we’ll get the results we want. We’ve got a lot of talent to build on this year, and I think we’ll surprise everyone with how well we will do.”