Friday, March 1, 2002
Girls under 14 soccer team wins championship
In a New England Patriot-esque finish to the Acton Indoor Season, the Concord Arsenal shocked three Maple Club teams to win the indoor playoffs last Wednesday. Finishing fourth in a six- team league, the Arsenal had gotten off to a slow start as they adjusted to the indoor game. This gave them a wild card seed in the playoffs versus a young team from Central Mass United (CMU), which they won handily 5-0. In a normal year, this would have been the end, as they were seeded against Spirit in the semifinals. Spirit had an 8-0 record in the "regular season," beating every team by at least three goals. The C-C girls knew it would be tough and played the game of their lives, taking Spirit through a sudden death overtime into penalty kicks and finally shocking the Spirit players (and parents) by winning.
This earned them a place in the finals against the physical girls under 14 (GU-14) CMU team, who had dismantled an undermanned Arsenal team two weeks before when the scoreboard had been turned off in the first half. The Arsenal took an early 1-0 lead on a mid-field shot by Damara Hawley into the top left corner of the net. Keeper Julie Gray was awesome all day and held the lead until the two-minute mark in the game, when CMU tied it up on a close-in rebound. Hawley finished the job in sudden-death overtime on a penalty kick clinching the title for the locals.
The tournament success was a testament to the determination and commitment of all the Arsenal players, who showed that teamwork can offset reputation. The additional local players included Elizabeth Andrewes, Nora Bussolari, Julie deJesus, Sarah Franklin, Emily Ridgers, and Jessye Weinstein from Concord and Marie Benkley and Elise Lehotsky from Carlisle. Two special guest players also contributed: Stephanie Passerini from Wakefield and Lauren Westling from Sudbury. They all played the best game of their lives (so far).
In the words of Andy Weinstein, Concord coach and father of Jessye, "It doesn't get any better than this!"
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito