By Jean DePlacido
---- — IPSWICH — Two hours before game time Ipswich sophomore Eliza Statile got a call from coach Nicole Linehan to inform her about starting in goal against Danvers. Despite the short notice Statile rose to the occasion, making six saves in her varsity debut to help the Tigers beat Danvers, 18-8.
“She did a great job stepping up, especially on such short notice,” said Linehan after her team improved to 3-0. “Our regular goalie Maddie Gregory is on medical leave, and backup Marley Henderson was sick so we called on Eliza.”
Ipswich built up an 8-2 lead by halftime. The game was close in the early going until the Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with four unanswered goals by Natalie Soliozy (four goals, three assists), Ellie Swenson (two goals, assist), Molly Markos and JoAnna Perry (two goals, assist) to take a 5-1 lead.
After Katherine Leonard scored for the Falcons after taking a terrific pass from Rachel Trocchi (three goals, three assists), the Tigers reeled off three more. Olivia Moutevelis (two goals), Brigid O’Flynn (three goals, two assists), and Swenson stretched the lead to six.
Soliozy powered her team by consistently winning draws. The Johns Hopkins bound senior tri-captain runs the Tiger offense and effectively sets teammates up. The first seven goals by Ipswich were scored by seven different players.
“The flexibility on this team is great,” said Soliozy. “We can put anybody in any position. Eliza is a perfect example of that. She’s only played goalie once or twice in practice and did a great job today. My goals this year are to have a presence on the field and to transition well. We have a lot of new players so it’s very important to come together as a team.”
In the final minute of the first half Statile robbed Katie Szela on a free position shot. Statile had a lot of support from her defense, especially tri-captain Lauren Barney, who was outstanding.
“Our defense played really well in the first half, clearing the ball out of our end without Danvers getting a shot off many times,” said Linehan. “We struggled a bit in the second half, but we know what we did wrong and will fix it.
“Soliozy was great on draw control, and O’Flynn had an awesome game. Brigid has a terrific lefty shot. Sophie Clark also had a strong game with a hat trick. We are very happy to be 3-0 at this point.”
Danvers had a much stronger second half. Szela led the way with a pair of goals and set up Trocchi on another. Julia Calasciebetta scored for the Falcons after taking a perfect pass from Trocchi, who was set up behind the net. Trocchi took the draws and also scored all three of her goals in the second half.
“We played pretty well, but unfortunately couldn’t get the ball in the net several times when we were in great position,” said Danvers coach Deb Tam, her team now 1-4 after beating Swampscott earlier in the week. “I thought we did a great job possessing the ball, and the girls were very patient. Our connections were right on point, but finishing off was the problem. Ipswich is a strong team, and I thought our girls contained them.
“Trocchi has been sick, but she really stepped up today. That No. 9 for Ipswich (Soliozy) is so tough on the draws. Overall, I’m proud of the girls for a strong effort.”
Caitlin Tivan also scored for the Falcons while goalie Cara Connors made some terrific saves. Meghan Lindahl had a goal for Ipswich, and Tessa Amoroso picked up an assist.
“This is the first year Connors has started in goal,” said Tam. “She has really turned the corner once she got over the jitters. She’s very athletic and works so hard. She really had some big saves today.”