October 3, 2022
Danvers 2 - Andover 2
The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team hosted 6-1-1 Andover in a non league match Monday afternoon. Andover's only loss was a 1 goal defeat to unbeaten Masco. Danvers was riding a 4 game unbeaten streak of their own, all by shutout. Danvers didn't do itself any favors by starting the game sluggish and with little intensity. After giving up a corner kick to the visitors in the 4th minute of play, Andover scored when a lose ball came out to a player at the 18 yard mark and drilled it home for the Warriors 1-0 lead.
"We came out so slow and lethargic. They were beating us to every ball on the field and playing very directly. It was a heavy kick and run type style which is always tough to play against. The ball was constantly in the air and we were letting the ball bounce and play us instead of dictating the pace of the game. I don't think we connected on more than 2 consecutive passes."
Danvers gave up 5 more corner kicks in the half and senior captain and goalkeeper Emily Goddard had to make 12 saves before halftime. Some of them were of the spectacular variety. Thanks to Goddard's fantastic play, the Falcons kept the deficit at 1. The Falcons did their best to fight for bouncing balls in the middle of the field and senior mids Courtney Hinchion and Teagan Price did well to win 50 / 50 balls. Danvers had several decent chances to score of their own, including a partial breakaway on goal by sophomore Georgia Prouty. However, Georgia couldn't get it past the keeper and the score stayed at 1-0 into halftime.
"I felt that was our worst half of soccer so far this year. We let Andover completely control the style and pace of the game. Giving up 6 corner kicks in a half is not a winning formula for any team and we just didn't look like ourselves. In an 18 game season, there are going to be games or even halves when your team just doesn't have it. This was one of those halves for us."
Danvers made some adjustments and moved senior captain and center back, Mikayla Shaffaval up to striker and had freshmen Addi McCarty fill her spot on defense. The change instantly paid off with Shaffaval putting all kind of pressure on the Andover back line. Two minutes into the half, freshmen Lila Doucette hit a ball out of a scramble across the box that Shaffaval was just able to hit across the goal line, to even the score. Only 3 minutes later, Georgia Prouty was able to put the Falcons ahead off an assist from freshman Olivia St. Pierre.
"We came out like a completely different team. We were first to the ball and were pressuring them into making mistakes in the back. Mikayla is like a secret weapon up top that we've only used twice. She can give us a ton of energy and she really sparked us today. The tough part is that she's an amazing defender and cleans things up whenever we make mistakes. It's hard to pull her out of position for too long."
Danvers maintained play through long stretches of the second half and had 6 good shots on the Andover net. At one point, Lila Doucette sent a pass through the Andover defense that Georgia Prouty sprinted all out for. She was able to get to the ball but at a bad angle to shoot on net. Prouty's pass into the goal box was cleared by the defender and the threat was stopped. Danvers continued to struggle with giving up corner kicks. Andover was awarded 5 more in the second half as well and once again, Goddard had to come up big in net.
"I'm not sure why we were having so much trouble kicking the ball over our own end line. There was some wind, but we need to do much better with that. Thank goodness for Emily today. She put on a clinic at there in net. She extended herself on so many saves and her athletic talent really was evident today. She was fantastic."
Coach Hinchion mentioned several players as having strong second halves. Senior captain, Ellie Anderson did a stellar job dropping to outside back. McCarty had a big game on defense and senior captain, Teagan Price worked extremely hard in the midfield. Courtney Hinchion also played a big role today.
"I thought this was Courtney's best game this season. She did especially well to run through 50 / 50 balls today in the midfield and she defended 1 v 1 physically and smart. She had 2 crucial defensive clears late in the second half when Andover was turning up the pressure."
When time ran out and the game ended in a tie, it was certainly a teachable moment for the coaching staff to the players.
"If we played the first half as hard as we played the second half, this probably would have been a better result for us. Andover is a Division 1 team and we know that we can play with them and teams of their caliber. Now it's a matter of playing at that high level for the full 80 minutes. We're getting there."
Danvers record is now 6-2-2 on the season.