October 8, 2022
Danvers 1 -Brookline 3
The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team was back at it Saturday afternoon with a huge non-league battle against Division 1 Brookline. Brookline was coming off of a huge 1-0 victory a week ago over the former #3 team in the Country, Newton South. Brookline comes from the very competitive Bay State League filled with large schools with power house programs. Danvers has been playing Brookline for many years now and tied them in Brookline a year ago.
"Brookline is a team I reach out to right away each year in the off season. They're a big school with a great program. They've made several deep runs in the Div. 1 State Tournament recently and they're the perfect team for us to go up against in a non-league. They are much more physical than any teams we see in the N.E.C. so it's good preparation for the State Tournament."
Brookline came out extremely strong right from the opening whistle. They passed the ball quickly and used the flanks of the field extremely well. They switched fields often and had the Falcons chasing quite a bit early. Danvers senior goalkeeper Emily Goddard was busy often, making many saves. She made 2 of the highlight reel variety, keeping the visiting Warriors off the board. In the 20th minute, Brookline played a cross from the right wing which found the foot of their sophomore leading scorer, Vilena Tchernychev. The #5 mid one timed the pass into the back of the Falcons net for the 1-0 lead.
"Their #5 and #8 were handfuls in the middle of the field all game long. Our girls did a good job on them, but they are talented players. However, the player that posed the biggest threat was junior right wing, Amara Ukomadu. She actually assisted on all 3 of their goals. She played with a ton of speed and skill."
Danvers had some great looks on the Brookline goal themselves in the first half. Twice, senior Ellie Anderson was sent in behind the Warrior defense but both times she wasn't able to hit a dangerous shot. Center backs Mikayla Shaffaval and Reese Holland did well to limit touches for the Brookline strikers and attacking mids. Teagan Price battled hard in the midfield staying step for step with Tchernychev. Freshman forward Lila Doucette hustled all over the field, pestering the Warrior defense. At one point she out worked the Brookline right back who was trying to shield the ball out of bounds. That play really inspired the Falcons but no scoring opportunity came of it. With 4 minutes remaining in the half, Ukomadu raced up the right sideline again and sent a perfect cross into the middle of the Danvers box, where senior striker Gianna Pentland was there to finish the chance, making it 2-0. The first half ended with Brookline up 2-0 and Goddard having to make 11 saves.
"We watched several of Brookline's games on video so we were familiar with how they liked to play. We wanted to pressure them and keep them from playing out of the back with their defenders. We did that extremely well, but when they were able to break our press, they attacked the open space on the outside of the pitch. We liked the offensive chances we created and felt if we made a few tactical adjustments, we could get back into the game."
Danvers adjusted to a 4-4-2 formation going into the second half. It immediately paid off as Danvers seemed to frustrate Brookline. Freshman Lily Delafano did an awesome job staying stride for stride with Brookline's dangerous Ukomadu. Senior defender Ryley Crosby tightened up defensively on the right side of the field. Senior mids, Anderson and Courtney Hinchion moved out to the outside mid positions and put continuous pressure on the flanks. Freshman Lila Doucette and sophomore Georgia Prouty hounded the Brookline defense from their striker spots. Sophomore Krysta Zamejtis and junior Molly Godfried also played valuable minutes up top and in the midfield. It was around the 10th minute of the second half that Danvers really picked up their play.
"Courtney Hinchion really gave us a lot of momentum when she harassed their right back into giving us a corner kick. As their defender tried to shield the ball out of bounds, Courtney ran behind her and played it off of her and out of bounds. Similar to what Lila had done near the end of the first half That seemed to really spark us."
Danvers brought on Cali Abbatessa to serve the corner. It was kicked out of bounds by Brookline and Abbatessa was given another crack at it. Her second went right into the thick of the box, but Brookline's tall defenders were able to make a clear. Danvers would get 2 more corners withing the next 2 minutes, 1 by Abbatessa and the other by Prouty, but neither produced the goal Danvers was chasing. Twenty minutes into the half, Danvers finally got their goal. Hinchion beat a defender on the left side of the field and sent a ball into the box where Anderson had made a run. A second or two of chaos occured before Anderson finally put it into the back of the net. The goal certainly sparked the Home team and for the next 5 minutes they terrorized the Brookline defense. Freshman Olivia St. Pierre, Doucette and Price all had shots on net, but Danvers couldn't get the equalizer. Goddard had to make some key stops herself, making 8 more in the second half for a game total of 19. The game got extremely physical late in the game and freshman Lila Doucette had to be walked off the field after taking an elbow to the jaw. A Brookline player was also given a yellow card for using bad language on the field. With about 15 minutes to play, Brookline's right winger hit a rocket towards the back post that had the defense and goaltender beat. However, senior defender Ryley Crosby was there to make the goal line save and clear.
"Ryley has done that at least twice now this year. She has a knack for being on our goal line protecting her keeper. That was an excellent play by her."
With only 10 minutes left in the game, Brookline's sophomore attacker, Makena Hammond finished off a third assist from Ukomadu. Although Danvers fought to the final whistle, it was not meant to be on this day, falling 3-1.
"We played so well the second half. We outplayed them for long stretches and our change in formation really helped us, and frustrated them. Courtney had an outstanding game and she played with a lot of grit on the left side of the field making smart passes and defending with a purpose. Ellie did the same on the right side of the field for us. Ellie really stepped up big time for us today, starting as a winger, moving to outside back, playing right midfield and ending as a striker. She literally played all over the field and did it well. I was also impressed with the play of our freshmen, Lily and Lila. They both made major contributions today. And of course, thank goodness for Emily. She made 18 saves vs. Andover and 19 today. She is about as good a goalkeeper as you will find on the North Shore."
With the loss, Danvers record dips to 6-3-3 with a huge rematch against 10-0 Masconomet in 2 days.
"This game is going to give us a lot of confidence going into our last 6 regular season games. The Masco game is a real big one. We want to prove to ourselves that we can hang with the best."