By Gianna Addario
---- — The Boxford Bullets U12 girls soccer team had one thing on its mind heading into this season— getting back to the state championship.
Last year, Boxford won two of its three games played at the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions, which put the Bullets in second place in their pool, but didn’t advance to semifinals based on a tiebreaker.
This time around, the Bullets went 7-1 in the regular season after forfeiting a game due to club soccer schedules.
They went on to successfully defend their 2012 Essex County Youth Soccer Association championship crown by defeating Danvers, 3-0 in the final back in June. Sydney Brooke, Sophia Woodland (2) and Gabriella Mazzie contributed to the scoring in the win.
The victory put Boxford back in the MTOC in Lancaster, but this time they were determined to win it all.
With help from Woodland, who led the team in scoring during the tourney with eight goals over the five games, the girls advanced to the semifinals after winning in round robin play. There the Bullets took down Northborough, 7-1 and went on to shutout Granby in the state championship game, 4-0. Carly Favazza scored twice, while Woodland and Brooke each scored a goal in the title contest.
“We had a number of girls sacrifice for the benefit of the the team,” said head coach Brian Woodland. “These girls worked so hard individually all year long to improve and it showed in our team’s results this spring. It’s nice and very deserving to see that hard work rewarded with a state championship.”
A big key to the Bullets success was the unselfish nature of all the girls. Erin Donovan and Nicolettte Levan, who normally play attack on their club teams, embraced their role on defense. Carolyn Hanson was the team’s main goalie throughout the season, but is also a field player on her other team.
Donovan, Woodland, Brooke, Levan, Favazza, Samantha Jackson and Athena Kordis all returned as players from last year’s team, while some new players also made key contributions including Hanson,Mazzie, Maddie O’Brien and Kelsey Moody.