Leominster – Lucy Gauvin remembered how tough it was when the Algonquin Regional High School girls soccer team lost to Wachusett Regional High School n the 2017 Division 1 Central final.
Gauvin made sure history did not repeat itself when the two teams met again in the district final Nov. 14 night at Leominster’s Doyle Field.
Backed by an assist and a goal during penalty kicks, Gauvin and the Tomahawks won this time around, 2-1 (3-1 PKs), to advance to the Division 1 state semifinals.
“It feels so good,” Gauvin said on winning the central championship. “I’ve been on the team for four years and it’s been something that I’ve wanted all four years.”
Algonquin coach Scott Taggart had a suspicion that the final was going to end in penalty kicks.
“It’s something that we’ve worked on for the last 2-1/2 weeks,” Taggart said. “We felt pretty good about how we were going to do there.”
Morgan Potter clinched the Tomahawks’ ticket to the state semifinals, striking Algonquin’s third penalty-kick goal into the net’s bottom left corner past Wachusett goalie Emma Hickey.
“They’re well-coached, they’re great players, and we knew that it would be that type of game,” Taggart said of Wachusett. “It’s just two good teams working hard. Sometimes it stinks that it has to go to PKs.”
Gauvin beat Hickey with a shot into the bottom right corner before Caroline Kelly collected Algonquin’s second penalty-kick for a 2-0 lead.
“In my head I was thinking: just like practice, just like practice,” Gauvin said.
It took just three minutes into the game for the Mountaineers to find themselves ahead after Maggie Kelly potted a goal into the net’s top right corner past Algonquin goalie Raiya Sehgal.
The Tomahawks remained confident despite the early deficit.
In the 26th minute, Gauvin fed a through ball from the left to fellow senior captain Taylor Moore, setting Moore up for a shot in front of the Wachusett net. Moore capitalized with the open space, sliding a score past a sprawling Hickey to tie the game 1-1 before halftime.
“I think us getting the equalizer before the half was over was huge,” Taggart said. “Taylor has been our leading scorer all year. She finds a way to get it into the back of the net.”
Taggart’s last season as Algonquin head coach continues for at least one more game. The Tomahawks will face either Minnechaug or Westfield in the state semifinals.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Taggart said. “We have the best senior leadership you could ask for.”