By Gianna Addario
---- — HAMILTON — Scoring six goals in one game isn’t unheard of, but netting a half-dozen tallies while being a player down for nearly 70 minutes of the game is nearly impossible.
The Masconomet girls soccer team didn’t let their disadvantage slow them down, instead it only fueled the fire as the Chieftains powered through it, topping Hamilton-Wenham 6-2 to remain unbeaten on the season.
“It’s the first time in my 20 years that that’s happened,” said Masconomet head coach Paula Yanakakis referring to her team having to play a man-down for the majority of the game after a Chieftain player was issued a red card.
“The girls stepped up, all of them, even our bench. It’s such a great victory for us and we were able to respond right away.”
The Chieftains (5-0-2) played with one less midfielder after the red card as senior captain Paige Pratt dropped back more, giving her team another layer of defense in the backfield. Pratt managed to score a pair of goals, the first of the game and also netted a penalty kick, which turned out to be the game winner.
Junior Jillian Kefalas, who started as a defender for the Generals (6-2), has slid into more of a scoring role nicely. Kefalas netted both of the goals for Hamilton-Wenham, one in each half and created many more opportunities for herself throughout the 80-minute contest.
“Jillian is really coming into her own,” said Hamilton-Wenham head coach Alvi Ibanez. “She’s sort of taking the role of Alana Vecchiarello from last season. We noticed she had breakout speed and she’s been able to generate some offense for us.”
Masco took a 5-1 lead into halftime, with goals from Julia O’Reily, Sammi Sheehan and Kaleigh White. White took on three defenders, managed to get by all three and rifled a shot over the fingertips of H-W keeper Cassie Vitale.
Kefalas scored her second goal with 21 minutes to play in the game to bring her team back within four. Just five minutes later White netted the final goal to seal the win for the Chieftains.
The Generals earned four corners to Masco’s one, but were outshot by the Chieftains 12-9. Masconomet freshman goalie Katy Pelletier was outstanding in net and came up with some key saves. Heather Pollock, Lucie Farnham and Sarah Katz were equally as impressive, and played sound defense for the Chieftains.
“Our defense has been keeping us in a lot of games,” added Yanakakis. “And then Katy comes up with those big saves, from point-blank range — it’s been great.”
Sophomore midfielder Emma Beane looked strong up top with Kefalas and the two worked well off each other, especially on scoring opportunities. Hamilton-Wenham made several runs, but had some trouble finishing, which is something Ibanez said that his team plans to work on for the next go around against Masco.
The Chieftains are right back at it tonight, taking on undefeated Lynnfield under the lights, while Hamilton-Wenham takes on Amesbury on Thursday.