(Wenham MA) The Scots (12-3-3) will be the #1 seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference women’s soccer tournament.
A win over Salve Regina this afternoon (2-0) did the trick for Gordon. There is a regular season game left (Nichols) but GC has a two-point lead over second-place Roger Williams and owns the tie-breaker against the Hawks.
“It was a great win for the girls,” said GC coach Chuck Breton afterwards. “We knew that Salve was a dangerous team.”
The Seahawks (8-10) were dangerous but didn’t score. The Scots, on the other hand, turned opportunities into scores.
The Scots, 6-1 in the conference, get a first-round bye in the tournament and will begin post-season play at the Brigham Athletic Complex on Wednesday, November 6th.
Maybe things will finally change for Gordon in this year’s tournament. The past and recent history for GC in the tournament have been unpleasant to say the least. Let the CCC women’s soccer archives tell the story: Gordon’s last title was in 1998 and the Scots have been in the finals five of the last seven years and have ended as runner-ups each time.
Last season the Scots were eliminated in the semi-finals on a UNE goal in the final three seconds.
Painful memories……..and plenty of them. But that was the past. This year’s first place finish gives the team from Wenham yet another chance to stand behind a championship banner.
The high-scoring Scots (46 goals) were again led by high-scoring Lexi Potter who tallied both GC scores.
Lexi now has thirteen goals including a remarkable ten of them in the last six games. Today she had one in each half.
“Lexi has been super dangerous as a right-wing forward,” said Coach Breton. “She’s very good one-on-one off the dribble and at making diagonal runs. Her teammates, especially Devin (Lacroix) and Ashton (Barkey) are excellent at slotting the ball in to her.”
I asked Lexi afterwards about the first goal she scored and she was quick to minimize her part in it: “That first goal was all Ashton (Barkey). We knew that we had some pocket space. I looked up, made eye contact with her, and she fed me an amazing ball. I wouldn’t have been able to score that goal without her.”
Visiting coach Jane Walsh agreed with Lexi: “#13 (Ashton Barkey) had a beautiful through ball on that goal which took some really impressive vision.”
Lexi added another goal nine minutes into the second half. This time, after a pass from freshman Alexa Weindorf, she dribbled into the middle and her shot beat SR keeper Jenna Park to the far post.
The goals were memorable but what impressed me the most on this afternoon was the ability of the Scots to control the game. Yes, the Seahawks had several good chances in each half, but Gordon kept possession of the ball for much of the game.
“My philosophy is that the most enjoyable way to play this game is to keep the ball,” explained Coach Breton. “These girls work very hard to do that. Our first line of defense is keeping the ball. We want to make the opponent work as hard as possible to get it back.”
That style of play certainly lessens the other team’s chances and may help explain why Gordon has allowed only seventeen goals in eighteen games. Scots GK Kali Denty has six shutouts so far this season.
Salve nearly scored with three minutes left in the first half and came even closer to ending the shutout in the last minute of the second half on a direct kick.
Coach Breton on the near-goal late in the game: “Kali is definitely the best keeper in the CCC. Her hands are unbelievable. I was surprised when she dropped the free kick. She told me afterwards that the momentum of the kick (by Erin Harnisch) was bringing her into the goal and if she held onto it, it would have been a goal. So she pushed it out intentionally and then their really dangerous striker (Meagan McLaughlin) go on the end of it and fortunately kicked it over the net.”
“That loss last year to UNE made a big impression on everyone,” said Coach Breton recalling the end of the 2018 season. “We’re not taking anything for granted. We literally take it one half at a time.”
Coach Jane Walsh: “I was pretty pleased with our performance overall. Gordon is a very talented team top to bottom. I really think they’re a full package. What I liked most was Gordon had to finish some good goals in order to get in behind us. We didn’t let up anything easy.”
Lexi Potter on next year: “I hope to go to grad school in physical therapy. I have applied to schools.”
Lexi (from South Glens Falls NY) on choosing Gordon: “I was looking for a Christian college. I Googled, “Top Christian schools,” and found Gordon. I contacted Coach (Breton). He saw me play. I believed right away that Gordon was where God wanted me to be. It wasn’t a mistake for sure.”
Nice weather for late October. Plenty of sunshine with temperatures in the upper 50s.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)