WENHAM — For most teams, the game plan is the same when the powerful Danvers girls soccer team comes to town.
With the explosiveness the NEC Small champion Falcons bring to the field, opponents tend to pack it in defensively in hopes of keeping Danvers off the scoreboard and possibly stealing a goal in transition.
Gloucester tried something different when the two teams met at Gordon College yesterday, opting to keep two strikers up top in an attempt to generate some offense of its own.
Ultimately, though, it didn’t pan out. After a scoreless first half where the teams traded chances, the Falcons rode five second-half goals to 5-0 victory.
“Most teams (play defensively) against Danvers, and it’s probably the smart thing to do,” Gloucester coach Alex White said, his tea. “We don’t. I think they have a good offensive unit, and I respect their offensive ability, but I always want to beat them. I don’t want to tie them; I don’t go out there looking for a 0-0 tie.”
For a time, it seemed that White’s strategy to beat the Falcons at their own game might pan off. With Danvers coming out of the gates relatively flat, the Fishermen backline was able to keep the Falcons to the outside and force a series of harmless outside shots.
So while Danvers (13-2-2) ultimately piled up a 16-4 shot advantage in the first half, it was far from a dominant performance and keeper Leah Ciampa made two strong saves, including one on a breakaway, to keep it scoreless.
“I thought we came out pretty slow,” Danvers coach Jim Hinchion said. “We’re banged up, everybody’s banged up at this time of the year, and I think we just came out with a little bit of a lack of intensity today and you can’t. Gloucester’s playing awesome, and the first half was really tight.”
Danvers picked it up in the second half, taking advantage of an early miscue on the Gloucester backline that left Chrissy Gikas all alone with an empty net. Once she buried it, the rout was on.
Danvers striker Shannon Pohle broke through shortly after Gikas started the scoring to put the Falcons up 2-0. Then Pohle added two more to make it 4-0 in a hurry.
And all the while, Pohle’s sister, Renee, paced a backline that stifled several second half opportunities from the likes of t deflate the Fishermen.
“Second half, I think we turned it on,” Hinchion said. “We settled in, but we never felt comfortable because we know what those Gloucester strikers can do.”
Once Pohle’s completed her hat trick, both White and Hinchion emptied their benches, giving their starters much-needed rest as each team’s regular season winds down and allowing Meghan McCarriston to notch her first varsity goal to round out the game’s scoring late in the second half.