PEABODY – Throughout the game the defense for both Peabody and Westford Academy limited scoring chances, and the feeling was one goal would decide it.
It was not surprising when Peabody senior Madison Doherty delivered. She raced up the left sideline and uncorked a left footed shot from 35 yards out. The ball tucked into the top right corner of the net just inside the post in the 57th minute of play, giving the Tanners all they would need in a Division 1 North opening round, 1-0 victory as Caitlin Lodi picked up her 11th shutout of the season.
“She’s such a complete player she can score with either foot,” said Tanner coach Dennis Desroches after his 6th seeded team improved to 13-2-4 and will meet unbeaten Masconomet on the road Sunday in the quarterfinal round.
“In my mind Westford (11th seed) plays in the toughest conference (Dual County) with strong teams throughout, and they just beat Lincoln-Sudbury. I’m very glad we had two tough games at the end of the year against Beverly and Methuen to get us ready.”
The first half was even with each team having one good scoring opportunity. The Grey Ghosts top scorer Lauren Steele, who came into the game with 10 goals and 5 assists, hit the right post from 20 yards out in the final two minutes of play. Earlier freshman Chloe Gizzi came close to putting Peabody on the board, but goalie Sam Hyslip made a diving save.
“Westford (9-7-1) is an incredible team, and I thought the first half was very even with each team taking six shots,” said Desroches. “We came out with more energy to start the second half and were able to get in the passing lanes. We were winning 50/50 balls and our defense did a great job.
“Defense got us to the next level, and by defense I mean our goalie, defenders, all the way up to the forwards. The kids worked hard all the way. We’re a young team, but we’ve got great leadership from our seniors. It’s a good core of leaders, and every body is going to benefit from this game because it was a true tournament test.”