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Danvers Falcons Girls Soccer '07

Thu, Sep 06, 2007 06:30 PM @ Danvers
Team 1st 2nd Final
Swampscott 1 0 1
Danvers 2 2 4

Danvers dumps Swampscott in opener

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Swampscott's Azra Dzino gets a foot on the ball while battling for possession against Kathleen Landers of Danvers during their season opener game  at Deering Stadium. » Kristen Olson, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Friday, September, 07 By Bill Kipouras
Staff writer

DANVERS | It may have been the first game of the 2007 season for both teams, but it's always a big game when Danvers and Swampscott meet in girls soccer.

Danvers and Swampscott are two teams that traditionally battle it out for the top spot in the Northeastern Conference. The past two years they have finished first and second, respectively, and both were looking to gain an edge by winning that first meeting last night.

Swampscott came out strong and scored first, but after that it was all Danvers in a 4-1 victory before a large crowd (including the Peabody High team checking out their new NEC opponents) at Dr. Deering Stadium.

Swampscott's lone goal came eight minutes into the game when Kellie McHugh fed Jennifer Cleary in front of the Danvers goal. Cleary booted a low shot into the right corner of the net past the reach of Falcon senior keeper Caraline Moholland. The lead was short-lived as Jackie Gauthier knotted it up on a penalty kick after Tess Saunders was taken down on a breakaway in the 27th minute of play. That goal seemed to change the momentum and get Danvers fired up.

"We got caught marking people when they scored, but the penalty kick changed momentum," said Falcon coach Jimmy Hinchion whose team won 16 games a year ago and has 15 senior leaders on the squad. "They had been pressuring us early on, but for the last 20 minutes or more of that half we were in their end."

The key play of the game came with 10 seconds remaining in the half when Danvers earned a corner kick. The Falcons called time out to set up a play, and with just a couple of seconds left Katelyn Hartnett took the corner, and Ashley Sullivan put the ball in the net to give her team a lead they would not relinquish.

"That timeout was my assistant Shawn Hill's idea because he was afraid we might not have time to get the corner kick in before time expired," said Hinchion. "We worked on corners and how to defend corners all day yesterday. We ran one of our plays, I'm not going to say which one, but it worked. We are going to be very strong on corners because we have a lot of height. We were hoping to get one there, but even if we didn't it would not have been all that bad going in tied."

To make matters worse for Swampscott there was some confusion about when the game was supposed to be played, and Day believed it was scheduled for today.

"We thought it was a Friday game, and we had planned to work on some things in practice," said Day. "We were counting on another day to get ready for one of our biggest games, but that is not to make an excuse. We got caught on set plays, and we played under their strength with the long ball. We also had some fitness issues near the end when we were cramping up. We have to make sure to stay hydrated.

"The corner kicks really hurt us, but I was very pleased with the way Tara Nimkar played in her first official game in goal. I think she will gain a lot of confidence from this game. Danvers is the team to beat with all those seniors. We've had some great games with them, and there is a lot of respect both ways. I thought we did a great job until that PK when the tide turned. It got Danvers going, and then they got that score with a couple of seconds left. But when you work hard you make your own luck. We can learn from that."

Moholland made a great fingertip save on a strong bid by Cleary with three minutes left in the first half, but the Big Blue had very few good scoring opportunities after that because of the outstanding job the Falcons defense did. Danvers converted another corner kick midway through the second half to take a commanding 3-1 lead when Lindsey Dattoli scored in a crowd in front of Nimkar. Casey King, who had drilled a shot off the top crossbar a minute earlier, finished the scoring with Hartnett picking up her second assist in the final two minutes.

Hinchion singled out freshmen Brittany Russo (forward), Becky Landers (center midfield), and Kellie Macdonald (middle defense). He also praised Saunders in her first varsity action, sweeper Mandy Walke, and defenseman Keri Mroszczyk. Day liked the play of stopper Alli Colson and wingbacks Sarah Burnham and Monique Bleau.

"This was a big game for both teams," said Hinchion. "It was played with the intensity of a midseason or tourney game, and this is a good start for us."

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