PEABODY — There were chances struck wide and great saves; there were displays of speed on the wing, crisp passes and plenty of staunch, physical defense.
Goals were the only thing missing in last night’s anticipated Northeastern Conference girls soccer game between Peabody and Beverly, which was infinitely more entertaining and competitive than the typical scoreless draw.
Both teams had excellent scoring chances denied in the last six minutes of the 0-0 contest under the lights at Donahue Field.
The Panthers (5-1-2, 3-0-2 NEC) came in as the more experienced offense and it showed in the second half. Beverly outshot the hosts 4-3 in the final 40 minutes and had three corner opportunities. Peabody’s defense, led by senior Alex Lomasney and keeper Caitlin Lodi, as well as superb underclassmen Katherine Schacchi, Katrina Silva, Aly Demeo, held their ground with outstanding poise.
Beverly’s shot total of six was misleading because their three best chances sailed wide. Two of those came off the foot of Eva Gourdeau and were deflected, and senior Caitlin Harty struck one wide as Lodi came out to challenge her with only six minutes to play.
Generally, though, the Tanners (4-1-1, 4-0-1 NEC) played composed, full-field defense. They refuse to give Beverly the space they needed to create scoring chances, with slide tackles and strong transition the norm.
“Beverly has two Division 1 athletes that can put the ball in the net with the best of them,” said Peabody coach Dennis Desroches. “I couldn’t be more proud of our defensive effort. To keep a team like Beverly off the board takes everybody.”
Most of Peabody’s scoring chances came in the first half, though Erika Nelson blasted one that Beverly keeper Kyra Wolonsavich punched away with four minutes left. The Tanners had nine shots on goal in the first half and just three in the second, with three of their four corner chances coming in the first 40.