One year after their most excruciating playoff losses in school history, the No. 20 girls varsity soccer team proved that despite their youth and postseason inexperience, they too are a team to be reckoned with, as the Rockets escaped Saturday’s MIAA Division I South preliminary match with a thrilling 3-2 victory over No. 4 Hingham High School in penalty kicks.
“When we went down one goal, they never said, ‘quit,’ they never got flustered, they stayed the course, scored two nice set piece goals, and this is why you play the game,” Needham head coach Carl Tarabelli said. “All in all, they matured a lot, they never lost their composure, and that’s what led us into this point here. [Needham’s a] great team, and played with a lot of heart.”
“Being a coach for Braintree for years, I know what Needham was about, and I knew it was going to be a hard fought game,” Hingham head coach Ryan Puntiri said. “My girls have fought hard all year long, and I think they’ve just been a resilient team. They really played with a lot of heart and a lot of passion."
After a back-and-forth first half, Hingham netted their first goal during the opening minutes of the second half, as senior midfielder and co-captain Julia Leahy gave the Harborwomen an early advantage before Needham’s sophomore forward Kira Oberle recorded back-to-back strikes to give the Rockets their only lead of contest.
However, with less than two minutes remaining, Hingham’s junior forward Sara Swenzeinfeir forced overtime by firing a shot past Needham’s senior goaltender Megan Lund, which was then followed up by two scoreless sudden death frames.
Both teams were then forced to determine a winner through one round of penalty kicks, which featured the Rockets scoring four of five shots to secure the win.
“My last penalty kicks save featured a lot of pressure, especially since I was the one who missed an earlier shot. I knew it was all on me to get it back, and I saw where [my opponent's shot] was going, and read it and went that way,” Lund said of the final penalty kick of the game.
Needham will travel to Brockton on Monday, Nov. 7 for a rematch of last season’s first-round contest, and certainly, the Rockets would like to even the score, especially after the Boxers 7-1 drubbing at .
“I think playing Brockton was a really big incentive to winning this game,” said Lund. “We really want to get revenge on them, and I think with this team, we can do that.”
“We have some unfinished business with Brockton, so we’ll see what happens,” Tarabelli said.