, Salem, MA


November 7, 2012

Beverly blanks Concord-Carlisle to advance to North semis

BEVERLY — Time and space are everything on the soccer field.

Yesterday in a Division 1 North quarterfinal, Beverly’s back line allowed Concord-Carlisle none, and in the first minute of the game the visiting Patriots gave the Panthers just a bit too much.

The fourth-seeded Panthers rode the momentum of an early goal and its best defensive performance of the season to a 2-0 over the Concord-Carlisle on the turf at Beverly High.

Beverly (16-3) advances to the North semifinals against Westford Academy tomorrow at Woburn (5:30 p.m.). A state tournament win over a Dual County League team is immense for the Panthers, who have won two postseason games in the same season for the first time since 1997.

“It’s amazing,” said junior defender Kristen O’Connor, who sacrificed her body to hold powerful C-C striker Andrea O’Brien off the scoreboard. “I honestly kind of can’t believe it.”

Sophomore midfielder Eva Gourdeau found some space in the first minute of play and took full advantage. Her precision pass sprung Caitlin Harty down the left side, and the record-setting junior beat C-C goalkeeper Angela Debruzzi to put the Panthers on top, 1-0.

“We were literally just sitting down on the bench when Caitlin put that one in,” said Beverly coach Kristin Simpson. “Putting that in the back of the net got rid of our early game jitters. We settled down and played great.”

Harty scored both Beverly goals, her 47th and 48th of the season, and extended her single season school points record to 59.

Beverly goalkeeper Casey Cook made eight saves and played a commanding, aggressive style that seemed to catch C-C off guard. She came out of her net to shut down a clean break by dangerous striker Emma Brandhorst, and also came out to deny a 2-on-1 between Brandhorst and the Boston College-bound O’Brien later in the first half.

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