By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Worcester – It was not the outcome that the Westborough High girls’ varsity soccer team had hoped for in their matchup with third-seed Wachusett Regional High in their Division 1 semifinal tilt at Worcester’s Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium. A nearly impenetrable defense and a lust to end the Foley “curse” by their opponent proved too much as the second-seed Rangers dropped a 2-0 decision Nov. 11.
The loss ends Westborough’s season with a record of 15-5-0.
“They put the ball in the net which they had to do. We had no real shots testing their keeper tonight,” explained Ranger head coach Paul Mumby. “We had no penetration into their zone. I couldn’t be prouder of the girls, though. They worked their hearts out for me out there and no one was wishing that they did better. They worked well out there tonight. We got beat by someone who put the ball in the net twice and we couldn’t do that.
“We knew they were going to be tough and strong up the middle and that they would be very physical. Calls didn’t always go our way tonight but you can’t always blame the referees.”
Mumby, in his ninth season guiding the Ranger girls, has produced seven Midland titles in his tenure at Westborough where before there were none, and with this season’s team finishing with six consecutive victories to wrap up the regular season with a 14-4 record, hopes were high. The 2015 squad is packed with experienced players including 14 seniors who bring skill, enthusiasm and a hunger to win.
Wachusett (15-4-1) got on the board at the 25:41 mark of the opening half when Mountaineer midfielder Catherin Elkas snapped home a rebound off a blast from out front by teammate Monica Pallotta. Alyssa Maldonado headed home a perfect pass from Pallotta at 26:56 of the second half for what would prove to be an insurance goal.
“We played a 4-4-2 to try and compensate for their five midfielders and I think we did well with that. We learned the system well,” said Mumby, whose team dropped a 3-1 decision with Wachusett this season. “We practiced what we needed to practice. We gave up that first goal but we came out strong after that.”
Down 2-0 late, Mumby took a defender off and put a fifth forward on to amp up offense late but the Rangers could not crack the Wachusett defense.
For Wachusett, the victory was akin to an exorcism of the ghost of Foley Stadium. The Mountaineers lost to Westborough here in district semifinals two year ago and suffered a stinging defeat to Algonquin in 2014 when officials called a penalty kick in double overtime. The Tomahawks scored to eliminate Wachusett from further playoff advancement.
Penalty kicks at any time of a game can be controversial but all the more so in double overtime. With the 2015 win, Wachusett players finally consider the curse broken.
“I have some talented kids,” said Mumby, “I only had so much time to get them ready before the season started. They came in in shape and a lot of them have the technical skills. It’s really then just how to get them together to gel and play as a team and they have definitely done that. I’m very proud of them.”
Seniors on the 2015 Westborough High girls varsity soccer team are Rakasa Pattanaik, Carly Flahive, Megan Hippeli, Alice Reh, Olivia Harwood, Carter Bromm, Madeline French, Brittany Los, Samantha Mack, Allison Smith, Hailey Limoges, Taylor Powers and Emily Falanga.
Junior Emily Longo is joined by sophomores Skyler Barry, Claire Hounslow, Jenna Lewis-Keddy, Emily Burneson, Kyra Barrett, Miriam Levesque and Chelsea Taylor.