(Wenham MA) There were plenty of fives on the line in this one.
Gordon had a five-game win streak. Gordon had won all five home games. But on the other hand, the Scots were winless in their last five matches versus Wentworth.
What gave was the winless stretch against Wentworth as the Scots downed the Leopards, 2-1, to win the quarterfinals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament on a beautiful Saturday afternoon on The Quad in Wenham.
Wentworth won the CCC title in 2016 but minus nine graduated seniors struggled to get good scoring opportunities against the short-passing home team.
A year ago, in two meetings, WIT outshot the Scots 46-11 and handily defeated GC 5-0 and 4-0. But that was last year. In this afternoon’s game, #4 seed GC took nineteen shots while limiting #5 seed Wentworth to only nine shots.
The key stat, to me, was corner kicks. The Scots took ten while the Leopards had none. There was plenty of pressure on the visitors.
Sophomore Devin Lacroix had a goal and an assist for the 10-4-2 Scots.
Nearly eight minutes into the game Devin found an opening on the right to shoot. Her well-struck attempt hit the bottom of the crossbar and dropped in beyond the goal line.
Wentworth (6-11-1) had few chances, but they capitalized on one of them before the end of the half. Molly Donahue beat Devin Lacroix to a goal kick and teed up a long shot from the right. Molly’s kick soared over Gordon GK Kali Denty’s fingers and tied the score, 1-1.
Soccer can be a cruel game. A team possesses the ball. Passes the ball well. Yet it’s goals that settle the outcome. That’s why that 1-1 tie at halftime was unnerving. One mistake could be crucial.
But the Scots were quick in the second half to put the pressure back on the Leopards.
Only 1 ½ minutes into the second half, Devin Lacroix attracted four Leopards to the middle of the field before sending a gorgeous pass ahead to teammate Lexi Potter.
I was at the Salve Regina game last Saturday, when Lexi was sent in by teammate Ashton Barkey and scored from that same right side.
This time around it was Devin setting up Lexi. Lexi’s goal was her eighth. Devin registered her 7th assist.
A key to the win? Limiting last year’s CCC offensive player of the year (Emily Richard) to three shots. Emily had eight goals and fourteen assists for the 2016 Leopards.
The Gordon passing was once again a sight to behold. You just can’t single out one player for special accolades when the ball is successfully shared so much among teammates. Everyone has to be good at passing and receiving or the Gordon style wouldn’t work………but it does so the entire team is on its game.
Great passing is one thing, but a team needs finishers and I’ve also seen that in the two wins I’ve viewed.
The victory sends the Scots into the semi-finals against #1 seed Endicott in Beverly on Wednesday. The Gulls overwhelmed GC 5-2 during the regular season. It should be a challenge for sure.
The Scots have won six straight and have been in the CCC tourney finals the last two seasons. To say that Gordon has been doing well lately (last six games) is an understatement. Endicott could be in for a surprise!
(All the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)