For these Tanners, the devil is not in those details, but in an end that had to come. Fate held that it came last night, but whether it came in the first round, the North final, or a state final, the last game together for this group was going to be difficult.
Peabody’s core has been one unit for four years, some of them even longer than that. Hayley Dowd, Victoria and Kara Digiacomo and Bucci all started as freshmen. A number of the upperclassmen in this group won state youth soccer titles at the U12 and U14 level.
It’s a group that grew up together on the soccer field. Times changed — scrunchies in their hair became pre-wrap headbands, disposble camera photos gave way to Instagram and Umbro uniforms became Under Armour — but their bond didn’t.
“It’s extremely difficult. It’s hard to see them go,” said Desroches. “What they’ve done, in this area, is going to go unmatched.”
Peabody’s seniors leave with a record of 75-5-5. They won the school’s first state soccer title in 2011, and spent three weeks this fall at No. 1 in the NSCAA’s national poll. They were No. 1 in New England in nine consecutive polls.
It was the most dominant era by the girls soccer team the North Shore’s ever seen, led by perhaps the best player the area’s ever seen in Dowd. She heads to Boston College with 148 goals and 202 points, school and area records.
Winning back-to-back state titles wasn’t in the cards. It can’t be a coincidence that the Tanners won last year, having been prepared for the tourney by a tough non-league schedule they had to give up when the NEC decided to go to 16 league games this fall. Given the league’s results in the state tourney so far, it’s something the powers that be may want to revisit this winter. But that’s another discussion for another day.