September 9, 2021
Danvers 3 - Masco 1
The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team kicked off their season Thursday night with a home night game vs. perennial powerhouse, Masconomet. Danvers finished the 2020 season with a perfect 11-0 record while Masco's lone loss a season ago was a 1-0 defeat at the hand of the Falcons. With a steady rain and both teams still working out the kinks of pre-season, this was sure to be a thriller.
Danvers came out of the blocks flying and put early pressure on the Chieftan defense. Freshman Georgia Prouty and senior captain Reese Pszenny both had early chances but their shots were stopped by the visiting keeper. About half way through the first half, Danvers got their first goal of the season. Prouty found a wide open Pszenny who hit a fairly long distance shot that was over and out of the reach of the Masco keeper. Just when it looked as if the Danvers was going to open the game up, Masco turned up their level of play. Masco continuously mounted attacks in the Danvers end but the Falcon defense held tight. With under 5 minutes to play in the half, Masco was awarded a direct kick just outside the 18. The Masco shooter hit a bending ball that stung the crossbar and went straight down where it was cleared by a Danvers defender leaving Danvers with the 1-0 lead at halftime.
"We dodged a couple bullets late in that half. If that direct kick was 2 inches lower we're tied at halftime. We certainly caught a break there. I think not scoring early when we had some good chances definitely hurt us a bit."
Danvers came out a bit more defensive minded the second half, changing their formation. Even with the move, Danvers still looked dangerous offensively. In the 8th minute, freshman Georgia Prouty doubled the lead off an assist from senior captain Arianna Bezanson. The lead was short lived however as Masco scored off a scrum in front of the Danvers net after a corner kick. With a 2-1 lead, Danvers continued to buckle down defensively. The back 4 of juniors Ryley Crosby and Mikayla Shaffaval and senior captains Emma Dunn and Gabby Chisholm made strong tackles again and again and their defensive clears were strong and timely as the clock continued to run. Crosby in particular had a busy night having to slow down Masco's extremely quick attacker Elana Lindonen.
"Ryley was just terrific out there tonight. She played all 80 minutes and never slowed down. If there was a 50 / 50 ball near her she won it. The player she was defending is extremely talented and Ryley certainly held her own. All 4 defenders in fact played the entire game. They really set the tone for us tonight."
Junior Goalkeeper Emily Goddard had a busy second half making several awesome saves to keep the Falcons ahead. Even with the wet conditions she seemed unfazed by the pressure. About 20 minute into the half a Masco player hit a rocket from very close range, but Goddard used her lightning quick reflexes to deflect the ball over the crossbar to keep Danvers in the lead. With time winding down Masco had a couple of corner kicks that must have given the Danvers fans a quickened pulse. Junior Courtney Hinchion was able to head one dangerous serve clear and then minutes later she cleared a bouncing ball in the Danvers penalty area.
"We were hanging on late in the game for sure. I certainly wouldn't describe our play tonight as pretty, but we played with grit and got the job done when the game was on the line. Teagan Price never stopped working in her position in the middle of the field tonight and we needed that. Her work rate was great. Molly Godfried also really stepped up tonight and played very valuable minutes in the midfield. Katie Walfield as well at forward."
With less than 5 minutes remaining in the game Danvers got the relief it was looking for when Bezanson notched her first tally of the season on a quick passing play by Georgia Prouty and junior Ellie Anderson. Minutes later the ref blue the whistle and the Falcon's first win of the season was in the books. Afterward, Coach Hinchion made sure to mention the loud and positive cheering and yelling from his team on the sideline through the entire game, stating it really made a difference for us having the whole team invested and supporting one another.