Danvers Falcons Girls Soccer '07

Sat, Nov 10, 2007 05:30 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1st 2nd OT Final
Playoff Game
Danvers 1 0 1 2
Belmont 1 0 0 1
Danvers 2; Belmont 1 » Linsey Tait, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Saunders saves Danvers in second OT

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Monday, November, 12 By Matt Jenkins
Staff writer

Tess Saunders went from chilled to thrilled before her legs could even thaw out Saturday night at Acton-Boxboro's Leary Field.

Saunders, a sophomore reserve forward for the Danvers girls soccer team, watched 80 minutes of regulation soccer from the sideline before getting the call from Falcons' coach Jimmy Hinchion. It took her less than 11 minutes on the field to make a huge impact.

Saunders beat Belmont goalie Emily Canina to a ball on the far post and poked it in to provide the Falcons with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over the Marauders in a Division 2 North semifinal.

Danvers (18-3) will play Wakefield (a 2-0 winner over Arlington) in the North final today (12:30 p.m.) back at Leary Field.

The arctic temperature may have had many spectators wearing out a path to the concession stand on coffee and hot chocolate runs, but it wasn't enough to freeze out Saunders.

"I told my assistant coach to make sure to give her enough time to get ready because she had been standing around for quite awhile," Hinchion said. "She's one of the fastest players on our team and at that point getting some fresh legs was pretty important."

Senior Jackie Gauthier set up the game-winning strike, and, in this case, ignoring the coaches' calls from the sideline paid off.

A long ball down the left side of the field was kicked out of bounds by Canina, who had come way out of net, before Gauthier could track it down. Instead of rushing the throw-in, Gauthier allowed her teammates to set up.

After the throw-in, the ball was quickly played back to Gauthier who crossed the ball to an open space on the far post. Saunders outran everyone.

"We tried to get her to throw it in quick," Hinchion admitted. "It ended up working out. Both teams were spent, and we talked about that at the break before the overtime. We said it was an even game and it was going to come down to who had more left in the tank. We always say to the girls, 'Who's going to step up and be the hero today?' Tess did."

On a team loaded with seniors (Danvers has 15 on its roster), it was a sophomore (Saunders) and a freshman who played the hero roles.

Saunders scored the winner, but she might not have had the chance had it not been for freshman defender Kellie Macdonald.

Midway through the first overtime, Belmont forward Claire Mackevicius slipped a shot past Danvers goalie Caraline Moholland, but Macdonald swept the ball away before it crossed the goal line.

"Kellie saved a goal," Hinchion said. "That very easily could have been the game."

Belmont (13-4-4) seized control early when Tara Reynolds got behind the Danvers defense and drilled a shot past a diving Moholland for a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

"I was a little nervous. You don't like to be scored on in the first 10 minutes of any game, especially in a tournament game," Moholland said. "Against a good team like Belmont you know it's probably going to be a one-goal game, but I also knew we had a lot of time to come back. We haven't given up all year in any kind of game."

Ashley Sullivan knotted the score on a feed from Chrissy Barrows after a scramble with 11 minutes to go in the first half.

Hinchion never truly got nervous, because the group of seniors he has puts his mind at ease no matter what the situation is on the field.

"Leadership goes such a long way in the tournament," Hinchion said. "Obviously having good skill and having a good team is great, but you've got to have the leadership. These girls have been here before, and they're a good, calming influence on some of our younger players."

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