Triton Vikings Girls Soccer '07

Triton girls primed for postseason

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Wednesday, October, 03 By John Shimer
Staff writer

Few things are certain in the Cape Ann League, especially preseason predictions or expectations, which often prove only to be fodder for talk.

The Triton girls soccer team is proving as much with its remarkable early season success.

Coming off a 3-11-4 season last year in which the Vikings graduated several key members of their defense, coach Dan Boyle was skeptical at best at this year's prospects.

However, with a 5-3-1 start, his Vikings have crept up on some people (Pentucket, Georgetown, North Reading to name a view), and are making a bid for the state-tournament berth for the first time in the program's 21-year history.

With only one senior in the back to guide the way, co-captain Kristi Davis, the underclassmen including sweeper Deanna Latham; wingbacks Allie Cross, Merideth McWeeney, Kaeti Wargo, and Sara Roy have been the foundation for success.

"I wasn't sure how fast they would all come along, after graduating three seniors a year ago, including one league all-star," said Boyle. "In this league, if you are weak in the back then any team can expose you. With any young group you are going to have bumps along the way, we have had them, and probably will more down the road. However, together as a unit they have been the best surprise of the season."

Having scored 18 goals in nine games (11 of those were in two wins against Trinity Catholic), Triton has found itself in many a low-scoring contests making the defenses' job that much more important. The one player anchoring the back-line and youngest of all, freshman goalie Jenna Norton, has withstood the call to perform.

"Jenna has played well above the call of duty especially for a freshman, and I am excited about the next couple of years to see what this group can do," Boyle said."With young players you never can be sure what you are going to get from them. I have asked these underclassmen to make big contributions and so far they have stepped up."

Another striking quality of this Vikings squad has been the ability to bounce back from tough losses and not dwell on the past.

"We are learning how to win, and that first step is brushing off the bad bounces that come your way and going out the next day to give your all once again," Boyle said. "Another great example in our season was when we had back-to-back games against Masconomet and Georgetown. We played Masco real tough, tied at the half, 0-0, before falling 2-0, but then the next game we came out and beat a great Georgetown team, 1-0.

"Like anyone else who competes we want to develop the kind of success that teams like Newburyport and Masconomet have established over the years," Boyle continued. "We are not ready to beat those caliber of teams just yet, but I think we have shown we are ready to compete."

The key stretch, according to Boyle, came in the next two games after a devastating 7-0 loss to Newburyport in the second game of the season. Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Vikes rallied for three goals and a 3-2 victory over Amesbury and then backed it up 2-0 win over Pentucket, the first in over five years.

"That game and a half stretch I think proved a lot of things to these girls, that this could be a different special kind of season," Boyle said. "It has been a long time since we have beaten Pentucket, and the little things make a big difference."

Of course the defense can't win the games by themselves and three players on offense have really picked up their games making things happen for the Vikes, Boyle said.

"Liz Kane and Brittany Caprio have really moved the ball around the field quite in both possessing the ball for our team, and then also creating dangerous opportunities," Boyle said. "Up top Rachelle Bourque has had a real nose for the goal scoring six times, and doing an excellent job filling the gap left by our other co-captain Melanie Lees, who has been recovering from some nagging injuries most of the season."

The road to success and a possible glorious first entry into the state tournament is certainly going to get more challenging starting today with Ipswich (5-2-2) and continuing with the likes of Wilmington (3-3-2), North Andover (8-1), and a second matchup with Newburyport (8-1). However, with nine games to play the Vikings have a very realistic shot at raising that first, elusive banner to the rafters...2007 Triton Vikings State Tournament Finalists.

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