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October 7, 2021
Danvers 1 - Masco 2

The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team traveled to Masconomet High School Thursday afternoon for a clash of the first and second place teams in the North Eastern Conference.  Danvers beat Masco in the first game of the season 3-1.  That game was tight until the very end and this game was sure to be a thriller as well.


The game went back and forth for the first 20 minutes.  Each team spent attacking time in the other's end.  Midfielders Teagan Price, Courtney Hinchion and Arianna Bezanson did a nice job defending and slowing down the strong Masco mids.  Outside backs Ryley Crosby and Mikayla Shaffaval were tremendous at getting to the ball first on defense and winning 50 / 50 balls.  Center backs Emma Dunn and Gabby Chisholm did well to clear out any mistakes in the defensive end.  Masco had a decisive edge in shots at about the half way point of the half but junior keeper Emily Goddard was able to make 8 saves.  Roughly midway through the first half, a foul was called on a Danvers player inside their own box and a penalty kick was awarded to Masco.  Goddard made the initial save but the rebound came back out to the shooter who made sure to place it in the corner of the net for the goal.  


"That was a tough way to give up a goal.  Emily made a nice save on the shot, but unfortunately it went right back to the shooter.  We had dodged a bullet earlier in the half when it looked like we fouled a player in the box.  This was our first time all season having to play from behind.  I like that we didn't panic and instead settled down and took control of the rest of the second half."


Danvers changed it's formation and the shots started coming in large bunches for the Falcons.  At the 33rd minute mark, junior Ellie Anderson sent senior captain Arianna Bezanson in behind the defense and she calmly placed the ball in the back of the net for the tying goal.  Unfortunately Danvers suffered some bad luck late in the half when senior captain Reese Pszenny had to come off the field with a twisted ankle.  Danvers would have to play the rest of the game without one of it's key offensive players.


"We ended up out-shooting them 13-11 and I felt we had a lot of momentum going into halftime.  However, the grass was super thick and everything played very slow.  We clearly weren't going to be able to knock the ball about quickly like we were used to doing on turf so I told the girls we would need to play with grit and let our athleticism take over.  The sun had stayed behind the clouds most of the half, but the sky was clearing and it was definitely going to have an impact on the game."


With Pszenny out Danvers moved freshmen Georgia Prouty back to attacking midfield and moved Bezanson up top with Anderson.  Junior Teagan Price played the defensive mid position extremely well the entire second half, challenging for every ball in the air and making many great defensive tackles in the middle.  Prouty sparked the offense from her mid spot with unselfish passing.


"Teagan played great.  She really stepped up for us today.  I thought our entire team fought really hard.  We had a lot of girls come in off the bench and play some quality minutes."


Defender, Reese Holland, mids Molly Godfried, Katie Walfield and Kacie McDonough and forwards Krysta Zamejtis and Cali Abbatessa all gave the Team a boost when on the field.  However, even with the sun advantage, the visitors had trouble getting any dangerous attacks going.  About midway through the half a Chieftan player broke through the defense and rung a rocket off of the Danvers crossbar.  Thankfully the ball was cleared by the defense afterwards.  Danvers mustered only 6 shots the entire second half and 5 of them came from Bezanson.


"Masco defended really well.  They're excellent at getting players behind the ball and we struggled trying to attack through all that congestion.  Arianna did have some good shots on net, but their keeper's hands were good and she didn't give up any rebounds."


Masco turned up the pressure late in the game and made several runs up both sidelines of the Falcons.  With just over 5 minutes to play, a Masco player shot a tough angled shot from the right side of the field.  Emily Goddard, looking straight into the sun, did get a hand on it but the ball deflected backwards and into the net for the go ahead goal.  Masco did well to slow the game down in the last 5 minutes and prevailed with the 2-1 win.


"I'm proud of how hard we played today.  Masco is a very good team and we had our opportunities here and there, but their's were more dangerous.  We had a long unbeaten streak dating back a couple of years and that's a lot of pressure on the team's shoulders.  We fought hard, but today just wasn't our day."


The Masco win ended a 36 regular season game unbeaten streak that the Falcons had been riding.  With the loss the Falcons record is at 8-1-2 overall and 7-1-1 in the N.E.C., 1 point ahead of Masco.  


"We're sore and a little banged up at this point.  Thankfully we don't have any games this weekend so the girls can rest a little.  We'll take this loss and learn from it and hopefully become stronger down the road because of it."

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