HHS girls’ soccer happy with progress


By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Nadia Doherty dribbles up the sideline as a Clinton player chases her.
Nadia Doherty dribbles up the sideline as a Clinton player chases her.

Hudson – Last fall, the Hudson girls’ varsity soccer team won just one game. In 2016 they put that difficult 2015 campaign behind them, nearly tripling their scoring output and earning a playoff spot for the first time since 2011.

Like much of Hudson Athletics, the girls’ soccer team dropped to the MidWatch C league after last season. The move was spurred by a mismatch in school sizes as Hudson teams were regularly getting beaten by schools with nearly twice as many students. Upon moving to the C league, Coach Spencer Fortwengler hoped that his team would be able to be more competitive in games.

“Dropping down the league was huge for us motivation wise, skill wise and with player development,” Fortwengler said. “You’re not going against the [schools like] Nashoba, Westborough and Algonquin all day every day.”

Hudson coaches saw the possibilities the move carried. After looking over their schedule before the season, Fortwengler and assistant coach Marshall Erickson came to the conclusion that, if their team won the games it should have been able to win, they would be in contention for a league title come late fall.

With playoffs, according to Fortwengler, pegged as their goal for the season from day one, the team added games to their normal preseason schedule and, according to junior Beverly Calandra, practiced hard in the days and weeks before their first regular season game.

“In preseason, I felt like it was more challenging than in years past and I think that’s because our coaches knew that we could win,” Calandra said. “We went in thinking that we could win.”

The Hawks did win. They jumped out to a 4-0 start in September, and qualified for the playoffs on Oct. 19 with a 3-2 win over Tyngsboro.

This year, the Hawks rallied behind seniors Nadia Doherty and Sophia DiPlacido who led the team in goals scored. Likewise, Hudson was able to push through injuries to other key players like Brooke Bohn, Maia Klingenberger, and Elizabeth Campbell.

“You just ask the kids ‘Hey, if you want to play right now, here’s your chance to step up and do your job,’” Fortwengler said of the team’s response to the injuries. “A lot of the kids have responded to that and filled those roles when we needed them. Without that mentality, we probably wouldn’t be where we are.”

Beyond the offense of Doherty and DiPlacido and the contributions of the younger players who helped the team win in spite of the midseason injuries, the Hawks also enjoyed a breakout season from their goalie, Erin Campbell.

Campbell, a freshman, allowed an average of 2.1 goals per game, racking up six shutouts in her first season with the varsity team.

“She has been doing a phenomenal job for us in goal this year,” said Fortwengler, later adding, “As she comes into her own confidence wise, she’s going to be a fantastic goalie in our league. I have no doubt she’ll be an all-state goalie; it’s just a matter of her being confident in her abilities to play.”

While they did lose their first playoff game 5-0 to Tantasqua, 2016 was still season of firsts for the Hawks. It was the first time any of the players on the team played in a playoff game. It was also the first time Fortwengler had been to playoffs as the head coach of the team.

Throughout the season, Fortwengler kept his players focused on the future, celebrating the progress his team was able to make in 2016.

“We’re really just striving to get better than yesterday and that’s what the kids are doing,” he said. “That’s all we can really ask for right now.”

Photos/Dakota Antelman

The Hudson Girls Varsity soccer team gathers during an injury timeout during a game against Clinton.
The Hudson Girls Varsity soccer team gathers during an injury timeout during a game against Clinton.

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