HAMILTON — Regulation and two overtime periods wasn’t enough time to settle the score in yesterday’s Division 2 North first-round girls soccer clash between No. 2 Hamilton-Wenham and No. 15 Gloucester at Hamilton-Wenham High School.
After 100 minutes of back-and-forth, physical, knock-’em-down, drag-’em-out soccer, the score was knotted at one goal a piece and the teams needed penalty kicks to decide a winner.
The Generals were a perfect three-for-three in penalty kicks, while Gloucester (9-7-3) connected on just one of four attempts. When Hamilton-Wenham goalie Taylor Morong swatted away Gloucester’s fourth penalty kick, it sealed a 2-1 win for the Cape Ann League Large champs and a spot in the Division 2 North quarterfinals.
Hamilton-Wenham (14-1-2) will meet No. 10 Stoneham in the quarterfinals tomorrow at Hamilton-Wenham High School (2 p.m.).
“We scouted Gloucester on Friday against Melrose, and we knew we were going to have our hands full with them,” Generals head coach Alvi Ibanez said. “And as everybody saw, we did have a tough time. It was a great game. I think the difference in the end was our defense. We made a few nice adjustments, and we were able to contain their strong forwards.”
From start to finish, physicality was at a premium. While both teams kept the physical play clean, neither team was willing to give an inch and the girls were willing to sacrifice their bodies for every piece of the field.
“That’s just the state tournament,” Ibanez said. “Every tackle is harder this time of year, every pass is harder and every shot is harder. There was a good crowd that got both teams playing hard, and that’s what happens. Both teams played their hearts out this afternoon.”
After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes of play, it was Gloucester that struck first in the 26th minute when Bianca Giacalone fielded a long ball, beat a Generals defender and went in all alone on Morong, to give Gloucester a 1-0 lead.