November 10, 2022
Danvers 1 - Grafton 6
The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team traveled 90 minutes west Thursday evening to battle the 17-0-2 Grafton Gators in the round of 16 for the Div. 2 State Tournament. After a long ride through bumper to bumper traffic the Falcons spend a good hour warming up and getting acclimated to the Grafton turf, pre-game. Danvers had scouted Grafton the round before and knew they'd have their hands full trying to stop the Gators Direct syle of play and high powered attack.
"When we watched them play Wayland, it was pretty clear that their attack was very dangerous. They had a ton of speed and played very direct."
Danvers came out flying for the first 2 minutes of the game. Olivia St. Pierre took on several defenders off the dribble and created some good attack in the Grafton end of the field. The Danvers back line of Mikayla Shaffaval, Lily Delafano, Ryley Crosby and Addi McCarty did well to turn away long through balls by Grafton. However, by the 10th minute mark, things started to go bad for the Falcons. A Grafton corner kick resulted in a scrum in front of the net with the Gator's leading scorer punching it home for the early lead. Only 1 minute later, Grafton struck again, doubling their lead.
"That 2 minutes of play really took it's tole on us. I think we would have survived the 1 goal lead, but them doubling it so early in the game really put us in a deep hole to climb out of."
Grafton added a third in the 19th minute and the Falcons were clearly in trouble. Sophomore Georgia Prouty, freshman, Lila Doucette and senior, Ellie Anderson got moments of good attack on the Grafton defense but couldn't get the break they were looking for. However, in the 26th minute of play, junior Krysta Zamejtis played a ball to fellow classmate Molly Godfried. Godfried's volley shot went over the keepers head and into the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-1.
"Molly's goal definitely gave us some life. That's Molly's second tournament goal in the past 2 seasons. It came at a really important time."
The Falcons went into halftime with a 3-1 deficit but felt positive that they could claw their way back into the game. Danvers played solid into the second half and looked as though they might make a game of it. But in the 15th minute, Grafton struck again and this time, seemed to really deflate the Falcons.
"We played with them for the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half. We weren't out of it yet. But when they got that 4th goal, you could see our body language deflate. Their #10 (4 goals) and #6 (2 goals) were both excellent players."
From there it was all Grafton as they pumped in 2 more goals to make it 6-1. Goalkeeper Emily Goddard did everything she could do to help her Danvers club, making save after save. In the end though, Grafton proved to have too many weapons and too much team speed all over the field. That Falcons would lose the match 6-1.
"That was a hard way to go out. Losing a 1 goal game or in overtime is hard to take, but they pummeled us. They're a good team and we just didn't match up well enough against them."
With time winding down the Coach got all 9 Falcon seniors onto the field together for one last time.
"This is, without a doubt, the nicest group of seniors I've ever had. They were great leaders and they were so accommodating to our younger players throughout the season. They were all great players, but even better people. I really loved Coaching all of them. It's been an incredibly fun 4 years with this group in the program."
The graduating seniors are Mikayla Shaffaval, Ellie Anderson, Emily Goddard, Teagan Price, Courtney Hinchion, Ryley Crosby, Katie Walfield, Cali Abbatessa and Emma Gibbons. They will all be certainly missed.
Danvers finishes the season at 12-5-3.