WILMINGTON — It was the type of goal that crushes a team’s will and gets momentum rolling downhill.
There couldn’t have been more than 15 seconds remaining on the official’s watch when Danvers junior forward Shannon Pohle broke through the Wilmington defense to tie the score and send the Falcons’ Division 2 North girls soccer quarterfinal matchup into overtime.
But somehow, the Wildcats survived Pohle’s tally and the ensuing pressure Danvers put on in the first overtime, defeating the visitors 2-1 on a Cassie Grasso goal with 3:40 to go in double overtime.
“I was freaking out at first because of that whole overtime situation,” Grasso said just moments after scoring her third goal of the year. “I thought we had it in the bag.”
Top-seeded Wilmington advances to the North semifinals against the winner of tonight’s Salem-Arlington contest. Danvers, meanwhile, concludes its season at 12-7-1.
Through the first 79 minutes last night, Danvers coach Jimmy Hinchion knew there was something his offense could exploit against Wilmington. They were just unable to do it.
Then, fresh off a timeout in the final minute, Pohle broke through after senior midfielder Stephanie Kowalski sent a ball down the middle of the field. Pohle split two defenders, beat the Wilmington goalie to the ball and deposited it into the lower right corner.
“We were just looking to play as direct as we could. The whole game their defense was playing way up and we just couldn’t get a through ball,” Hinchion said. “We were saying every time their defense is playing high, all it takes is one through ball and we’d spring a very good forward. We couldn’t do it.
“We were looking all game and it happened in that last minute; it was pretty unbelievable. But we should have been able to take advantage of that a lot sooner.”