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November 15, 2012

State semifinal notebook: Cook's versatility nearly pays off for Beverly

LYNN — It’s not common to see a soccer team change goalies in the middle of a state semifinal contest.

But then again, Beverly High junior Casey Cook is an especially uncommon player.

Coming out of a timeout with 20:36 to play in last night’s Division 1 state semifinal at Manning Field, Beverly coach Kristin Simpson sent Cook to the midfield as senior Rachel Kenney took her place in net.

With the Panthers trailing, 1-0, at the time, Cook — who has played both midfield and keeper throughout the season — nearly generated a scoring chance right away by sending a ball up to Kristen O’Connor that Franklin snuffed.

“When you get to this point, it’s do-or-die. If you lose, there’s no tomorrow,” Simpson said. “We felt like we were losing the midfield, and Casey can be a crazy lady out there — she has an immediate impact, and she wins everything.”

Cook posted back-to-back shutouts earlier in the state tournament and stopped three of the four shots she saw in the 2-0 loss to Franklin last night.

“I wish I could split Casey in half and have her in net, too,” Simpson said. “She’s a tremendous field player, and we needed that. Already being down 1-0, we needed to try to go for it.”

The Panthers (18-4) also had faith in Kenney, who made three saves, includes two excellent stops on Franklin’s superb striker, Kristi Kirshe. Franklin did score as sophomore Taylor Cagliano converted a breakaway off a turnover with 11:33 left in the game, but at that point, there wasn’t much Kenney could do to stop it.

“Rachel was our keeper throughout the year, and she did a great job for us,” Simpson said.

Cook let in just five goals in five postseason games. She had a most impressive 19 saves in the penalty kick victory over Central Catholic in the North final.

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