By Phil Stacey
---- — BEVERLY — Kristin Simpson says that Caitlin Harty has the ultra rare “soccer triple whammy.”
It’d be hard to argue that point.
Harty scored two goals yesterday, including the 100th of her storied high school career, and assisted on her team’s other two tallies as Beverly High blanked Salem, 4-0, on the turf field at Beverly High.
“Caitlin’s speed sets her apart; that’s the big thing,” said Simpson, the Panthers’ head coach. “Her speed, technique and soccer smarts in general — that’s the soccer triple whammy.”
The Holy Cross-bound Harty, who already has eight goals and 12 points in four games this season, helped stake the Panthers (3-0-1) to an early lead in their home opener that they never relinquished.
Beverly called time out 10 1/2 minutes into the game after Harty buried a nice feed from junior Eva Gourdeau out front, giving the hosts a 2-0 lead. Everyone believed it was Harty’s second goal of the match and her 100th career tally, but it was ruled that the game’s first goal — which Harty touched in from of the visitor’s goal cage — was actually knocked into the net past junior goalkeeper Ariana Gaffney by a Salem High player.
So the official 100th goal of Harty’s BHS career came at 26:35 of the first half when fellow captain Diandra Crowley, a defender, got the ball up to Harty with space to run — and run she did, breaking in on goal and scoring the milestone marker.
“I knew I was close coming in, just not the exact number,” said the 17-year-old Harty. “After four years with the team, scoring 100 goals is a good measurement of how I’ve improved as a player.”
“She goes 110 percent to every ball and we can always rely on her,” Crowley said of Harty.
Crowley (“I’m going to get my first career goal this season”) assisted on the historic boot when, off a corner kick that played itself out into open space, she got to the loose ball first, dribbled it a few steps and fired a perfect touch pass through the center of the pitch to a streaking Harty. From there, Harty simply waited for Gaffney to make her move before depositing her shot into the lower left corner of the net.
“That’s the style we like to play: aggressive and offensive-minded,” said Simpson, whose team rebounded nicely after a drab 3-3 tie with Lynn Classical in its last outing. “We’re always looking to attack, and our defenders (Rose Terner, Sarah Visnick, Kadrianna Letts and Crowley, with Maddie Curran coming off the bench) kick start that. Our midfielders and forwards can take extra chances offensively because of the faith we have in our defense.”
Gaffney, who had more than a dozen saves, kept Salem (2-2) in the contest with several acrobatic stops. Sophomore sweeper Hayley Jellison and junior Deema Hijleh, who played both center mid and forward, also asserted themselves, but as a whole the Witches couldn’t overcome a slow start.
“We were a little psyched out by (Beverly) early on, and just like that it was 2-0,” Salem head coach Fred Day said. “We had to settle down, and once we did we started playing much better, particularly in the second half. But that’s the thing about Beverly; they do so many of the little things well like making more accurate passes and making strong runs without the ball. For us, that last pass or through ball seemed to break down.
“After struggling for the last two years we’re an up-and-coming team; we’ve still got only two seniors and a lot of juniors who have been playing since freshman year. This was a good effort by us.”
Gourdeau, the explosive forward, added her fifth goal (and 12th point) of the young season with about 13 minutes to play when she buried a feed from Harty. Junior Emily Mellinger helped set the play up, working the ball up the left wing before crossing it over and allowing Harty to set up in the offensive zone.
“We wanted to move on from that Classical game, take what we learned from it and move on,” said Crowley. “We said, ‘Remember the feeling we had after that game so we don’t feel it again.’ We’ve put it behind us.”
CAITLIN HARTY SCORING TOTALS AT BEVERLY HIGH Season G A Pts. 2010 14 5 19 2011 28 11 39 2012 50 11 61 *2013 8 4 12 TOTALS 100 31 131 * through four games