By Gianna Addario
---- — LYNN — The hardest loss of the season is always the last one, most notably because it means the state tournament run has come to an end.
Coincidentally, the Masconomet girls soccer team suffered its first and last loss of the season in a 5-0 decision to second seeded Newton North in last night’s Division 1 North semifinals.
Heading into the game, the Chieftains (15-1-5) hadn’t lost a game since falling to the Wildcats in the first round last year.
“I thought our girls fought hard,” said Masco head coach Paula Yanakakis. “We knew they had a couple good players up front and we did our best to slow them down.”
The Chieftains actually had their best scoring opportunity of the game four minutes in after senior captain Kaleigh White shot just wide of Newton North’s net.
“That kind of shocked us a bit, actually,” explained Newton North head coach James Hamblin. “We had spoken about trying to neutralize (White) and stop her from getting on the ball. I think we did a good job marking her, especially after that scare.”
Minutes later Masco freshman keeper Katy Pelletier was injured in a collision after she made save outside her net. She came out of the game and was replaced by sophomore goalie Morgan Whiton.
Whiton, who played most of the year on junior varsity, was called up for tournament play and saw some prime time action as soon as she subbed in.
The Wildcats, who play in the highly competitive Bay State Conference, showed why they’re still undefeated. After Whiton got caught trying to cut down the angle, Newton North striker Shannon Fitzgerald was able to score on the open net to go up 1-0.
Pelletier came back in the game minutes later and finished out the game with five saves under her belt.
“We were happy Katy was able to go back, we took her out because she had a little bump on her head,” Yanakakis said. “She’s done a great job. She’s tough, so once the trainer cleared her, I knew she’d go back in.”
The Chieftains regrouped at halftime and seemed poised for the second half, but the Wildcats had other plans. Fitzgerald netted her second of three goals just seconds into the final stanza, which put Masco on its heels.
“The second goal really took the wind out our sails,” noted Yanakakis.
Newton North, which recorded its second shutout of the tournament, went on to score three more goals before time expired. Christina Callahan and Angela Ward added a goal an assist each, while Fitzgerald scored her third of the night.
“Shannon’s has had a great season for us and Angela is a work horse, strong and powerful,” noted Hamblin. “They’re very hard to defend against.”
Masconomet senior captain Paige Pratt played all out for the full 80 minutes. She started out at sweeper and worked hard against Ward up top, however once Newton North scored its third goal, Pratt moved to the midfield to try and generate some offense.
Pelletier finished the game with 12 saves and will be a huge spark to the Chieftain lineup again next season.