By Gianna Addario
---- — TOPSFIELD — Losing just isn’t a word that the Masconomet Regional girls soccer team knows.
Despite being outshot by visiting Peabody, the third-seeded Chieftains capitalized on a late scoring chance and earned a 1-0 victory in yesterday’s Division 1 North quarterfinal.
Now 20 games into the 2013 season, the Chieftains (15-0-5) have yet to lose in regulation — and didn’t plan on this game being any different.
Masconomet junior midfielder Kate Kitsakos beat a pair of Peabody defenders in transition to score the game’s only goal with just over 12 minutes to play in the second half.
“Peabody outplayed us in the second half for probably the first 25 minutes, but we were able to catch a break there,” said Chieftains head coach Paula Yanankakis. “Sarah Katz was able to dribble through a couple of defenders and pushed the ball up to Kate.”
The win propels Masconomet into the North semifinals for the first time in three years, where they’ll face second-seeded Newton North at Manning Field in Lynn tomorrow (5 p.m.).
The No. 6 seeded Tanners (13-3-4) had plenty of chances to score along the outside on throw-ins.
“Not being able to score has been our Achilles’ heel all season,” said Peabody head coach Dennis Desroches. “We dominated possession. I thought we were in their defensive zone the entire time; we just couldn’t put it away and score. If the ball’s there we need to be able to punch it in.
“We had multiple opportunities; it’s sad to see it have to end like that.”
Peabody, which took the only two corner kicks of the game and outshot Masco 7-2 in the second half, managed to fight up until the very last whistle. The Tanners’ best scoring chance came with just seconds left on the clock, but Masconomet keeper Katy Pelletier gobbled up the rebound as time expired.
“(Katy) really gets into the game,” Yanakakis noted. “She’s the only freshman on our team, but she’s very composed in there. Nothing really gets to her.”
Pelletier turned away 10 shots, but none bigger than the final save of the game to preserve the victory.
Masconomet senior captain Paige Pratt did an outstanding job marking Peabody’s leading scorer, Madison Doherty for the entire game. The few touches that Doherty did get were contested by Pratt, who normally plays in the midfield.
“We knew Madison was very fast and had a great left foot,” explained Pratt. “So I was basically back there to keep the speed down and force her to her right.”
Peabody freshman Katherine Scacchi took at least five throw-ins in Masco’s defensive end, but the Tanners couldn’t find the back of the net from inside the box.
“It’s like a corner kick for us (when Scacchi throws it in),” said Desroches. “It’s a great weapon to have. It just gives us another opportunity in front of their goal. We’d get a foot on it but lose it— and more opportunities lost.”