LYNN — The Beverly girls soccer team didn’t expect to be in the Division 1 state semifinals here at Manning Field.
A year from now, however, they’ll expect to be back.
Beverly (18-4) bowed out to unbeaten Franklin, 2-0, last night, to end a postseason run that caught everyone on the North Shore, even the Panthers themselves, by surprise.
With underclassmen playing important roles at every level of the field, the Panthers wake up this morning already looking forward to next September. Record-setting striker Caitlin Harty is a junior. She’ll be paired up with sophomore Eva Gourdeau again next year, instantly giving Beverly the best offense on paper for 2013.
Juniors Diandra Crowley (a captain) and Kristen O’Connor will backbone the defense next season, and Swiss Army Knife Casey Cook, who can play goalie or midfield, is back, too.
Beverly has four senior starters, and while they may not be headline grabbers, their contributions to this first Division 1 North title can’t be overlooked.
When a young team goes further than expected in the state tournament, there are usually some strong-willed, unsung seniors driving the bus.
“In terms of leadership, we had some incredible seniors. I couldn’t have asked for a better group,” said Beverly coach Kristin Simpson. “It’s tough to go out like this, but we had a great run, and hopefully this is something the girls won’t forget.”
Captain Becca Kemmer is at the top of the list of Beverly’s senior leaders. A stalwart at fullback, Kemmer challenged opposing strikers throughout the tournament. Her communication with O’Connor and Cook in the back end helped the Panthers shut out Dual County League powers Concord-Carlisle and Westford Academy on their way to the Division 1 North final.
Just how much did Kemmer, who played the tournament with a large padded brace on her wrist, mean to Beverly?