PEABODY — Senior defenders Kara Digiacomo and Cayla Bucci are the unsung heroes of the unbeaten Peabody girls soccer team.
In a tense second half yesterday at Donahue Field, the duo combined to hold off Concord-Carlisle and striker Andrea O’Brien, while Peabody got goals from Hayley Dowd and Madison Doherty in a 2-0 win.
The Tanners (12-0), unbeaten in their last 36 games, were ahead 1-0 when Bucci made a text-book slide tackle to get the ball away from the Boston College bound O’Brien. Later, Digiacomo hurried back and took the ball from a running O’Brien to break up another scoring bid.
“We would not be where we are without those fullbacks,” said Peabody coach Dennis Desroches. “That line is always on, whether its offense, defense, on ball or off ball — its the best fullback line we’ve ever had.”
Peabody keeper Caitlin Lodi made two excellent saves on O’Brien bids before Doherty headed a Dowd throw-in over the C-C keeper with 14 minutes remaining for the crucial two-goal lead.
Playing without senior Bianca Muscato at stopper due to injury, the Tanners’ backline didn’t buckle under the pressure of playing the Patriots (10-2), who saw their own nine game winning streak snapped.
Freshman Katrina Silva stepped in at stopper and had a very strong game, as did fullback Alex Lomasney.
“I was a little hesitant because of the youth, but we threw Katrina in that stopper role and she was fantastic against one of the top strikers around,” said Desroches. “To keep (O’Brien) off the board, those girls deserve a ton of credit.”
Peabody, ranked No. 1 nationally by the NSCAA, had one of its stronger efforts of the year in the passing game. That was in large part thanks to the play of the always steady Bucci and Digiacomo, who is also Peabody’s free kick specialist and has four goals on the season.