November 6, 2021
Division 2 State Tournament, Round 1
Danvers 0 - North Attleboro 0
Danvers wins in shootout!
The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team hosted North Attleboro Saturday night in round 1 of the Division 2 State Tournament. The Falcons came in seeded #5 with a 13-2-3 record while the visitors were seeded 28th with an 8-9-2 record.
"My coaching staff and I watched several of North Attleboro's games on video and we new they'd be very tough defensively. They were not an offensive team but played everyone on their schedule tough. They played a strong Foxboro Team in their league who has a very dynamic player. N. Attleboro had a defensive player shadow the Foxboro player all over the field and I felt they would do the same to our Arianna Bezanson. I felt this could be a very tight game depending on how quickly we could score."
Danvers came out fast but couldn't find the back of the net. North Attleboro did shadow Bezanson and she had an additional 2 defenders on her wherever she was on the field all night long. Even with the stingy defense, Danvers still found a way to get some great goal scoring chances with attackers Ellie Anderson, Brooke Wynott and midfielder Georgia Prouty. However, the score remained 0-0 as the first half wore on. Later on in the half, a North Attleboro player hit a shot from distance that looked as if it could be trouble, but it clanged off the Danvers post and went wide. Falcon keeper Emily Goddard made 5 strong saves in the first half. Danvers also dodged a couple of bullets off of corner kicks by the visitors, 2 that were especially dangerous. Thankfully the Falcons made the defensive clears they needed to make. North Attleboro had 4 corner kicks in the half.
"We were playing kick and run style soccer and looked so sloppy. North Attleboro was out possessing us and we were giving them way too much space on the field. North Attleboro came into the game having only scored a struggling 33 goals all season and we were treating them like they had Mia Hamm, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan for a front line. It was really frustrating to see us play like that."
Danvers and North Attleboro traded offensive chances throughout the second half as well with Danvers getting the far better opportunities. Prouty, Anderson and Wynott all had great opportunities to score but just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. As the game wore on, Danvers suffered several injuries and girls had to come off the field. In the span of about 10 minutes, Danvers had defenders Gabby Chisholm, Ryley Crosby and attacker Brooke Wynott all have to leave the field.
"Our Team really stepped up when we lost some players due to injury. Gabby hasn't come off the field pretty much at all this year so we certainly had to adapt. Mikayla Shaffaval did terrific moving from outside back to the middle. Her and Emma Dunn really locked it down for the last 15 minutes. I thought Emma really came alive and dominated 50 / 50 balls and was fantastic heading the ball out for clears. Ryley Crosby came back into the game soon after her injury and played well. She was a force all night long. Teagan Price moved from her center mid spot to outside back and played solid. I thought Teagan was one of our strongest players tonight playing physical and aggressive in the midfield."
As time wore down the Falcons continued to work hard but the North Attleboro defense was hanging on. Birthday girl, Cali Abbatessa had a couple of shots and aided the Team with some very long throw ins. Molly Godfried and Courtney Hinchion plugged the middle of the field and Bezanson continued to navigate through what seemed like a full team of defenders every time she touched the ball. After 80 minutes played, the game would end in a tie and go on to "Sudden Victory" overtime. Once again, there were chances, but the Falcons just couldn't cash in. With under 2 minutes to play, the Falcons called a timeout to set up a corner kick play. A beautiful ball served by Arianna Bezanson traveled right across the 6 yard line of the visitors but nobody was able to put it in. After 2 periods of Sudden Victory, the game was still 0-0 and headed into a shootout.
We've been practicing penalty shots since early September. I actually felt pretty good going in because we've spend so much time on them. Plus, Emily Goddard is a fantastic keeper on PK's. She's extremely quick and I was hoping she could save or force a miss on at least one."
Danvers had 4 of it's 5 regular shooters ready to go, but with Chisholm out with an injury, sophomore Kacie McDonough volunteered to step up in her place.
"It takes a lot of mental toughness to take penalty kicks. I'm proud of the 4 girls that stepped up to take them and also super proud of Kacie volunteering to be the 5th shooter. That says a lot about her mental toughness."
Senior Emma Dunn was the first shooter for the Falcons and she hit a rocket to the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Next, keeper Emily Goddard made a diving save to her right to keep the shootout 1-0. Danvers next shooter, senior captain, Arianna Bezanson also found the twine and Danvers was up 2-0. North Attleboro's 2nd shooter hit the post putting the Falcons in a great spot. Danvers third shooter, senior Emma Hatch had her shot saved by the N.A. keeper but the refs whistled the play and said the goalkeeper moved too soon. Hatch got a second chance and buried this one for the 3-0 lead. After North Attleboro connected with their third shooter, 1 more goal and the Falcons would be moving on. Freshman Georgia Prouty artfully delivered the goal, sending the Danvers Team into a happy celebration. The Falcons would be advancing.
"Tonight was a tough game against a solid defensive team. They made things tough for us and we surely didn't play our best. But we never stopped playing hard. We worked the entire 100 minutes and we're thankful to be moving on. Goddard, Bezanson and Price all really stood out tonight. We'll need more players to step up like that in the next round for sure. This was definitely a Team win. Girls stepped up when others got injured and our bench was amazingly loud and supportive. Several girls that hadn't played or played big minutes were ready if we needed them for PK's. Great Team effort and a very exciting Win!"
Danvers will advance and host # 21 seed Holliston on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00. Holliston won the State Championship in 2019. The Falcons will surely have to be ready.