North Andover Scarlet Knights Girls Soccer '11

Mon, Nov 07, 2011 07:00 PM @ Andover
Team 1st 2nd OT Final
North Andover 0 0 1 1
Andover 0 0 0 0

Knights topple unbeaten Andover

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Saturday, December, 03 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

ANDOVER — Take a bow, Megan Collins. You're the reason North Andover is advancing in the Division 1 North tournament.

The Scarlet Knight goaltender faced an offensive onslaught from Andover in the first half of last night's first round game and kept the game scoreless. Surviving a more balanced second half and a pair of overtime periods, Collins got North Andover into penalty kicks, and when Eleni Coufos converted her team's fifth attempt, the Knights miraculously won the session, 5-3, and the game in front of about 300 fans at Lovely Field.

The 14th-seeded Knights (11-4-4) will next travel to No. 11 Medford tomorrow afternoon for a quarterfinal showdown.

The undefeated Warriors — top-seed in the tourney and the No. 1 ranked team in Eastern Mass. — threw everything they had at Collins. If it wasn't junior Devon Caveney breaking free down the right wing, it was senior Jodi Pollack sprinting down the left side or Emily Van Antwerp putting up some pressure from the top of the penalty box.

But only statistically. The Warriors tossed 21 shots toward the North Andover net, 11 of which found the mark. But whether it was a three-shot salvo from Caveney and Pollack or a steal turned four-star opportunity for Bethany Hunt, the freshman keeper was more than equal to the task.

"I don't know, maybe it was adrenaline," said an elated Collins after her winning 12-save effort. "I just really wanted to beat this team."

"We completely dominated," said Andover head coach Meghan Matson. "But it's hard because scoring gives you momentum, and with all those opportunities, we didn't capitalize on them. We needed to find the momentum and we didn't."

North Andover started to match Andover's intensity in the second half behind the hustle of Pam Coufos and Olivia Boudreau to balance the field, and then had the two best scoring opportunities in overtime.

On a give-and-go with Eleni Coufos, Pam Coufos drilled a 30-yard blast that sophomore Emily Wilson (two saves) juggled and grabbed. And on the last play of the first OT, Pam Coufos' perfect centering pass sent Boudreau in clean down the middle of the field. Only Alex Puccia's hustle on defense, deflecting the shot wide right, kept the score sheet clean.

"Andover was really coming through the ball and playing the body," North Andover head coach Bud McCarthy said. "We played more physical, we played tougher in the second half.

"In the first half, we played survivor. In the second half, we played soccer."

And in penalty kicks, McCarthy told his players to trust themselves.

"Basically, the only thing I told them was to relax," he said. "Shoot for the same spot (as in practice) and don't change anything."

The door to victory was opened in the second round when Collins stoned Rachel Holzman, and Alana Houlihan, Deirdre Martyn and, finally, Eleni Coufos found the mark for the victory.

"Andover's been our rival for the 25 years that I've been here," McCarthy said. "It's always a big game for us. Hopefully, there's no letdown (for Medford). We've got to maintain this kind of intensity. It we do, we can play with anybody."

Game Statistics:

Division 1 North First Round

Saves: NA — Megan Collins 12; A — Emily Wilson 2

Next game: Wednesday, North Andover at Medford, Division 1 North quarterfinals, 4 p.m.

Note: North Andover wins on penalty kicks

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