By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — WENHAM — On paper the Gordon women’s soccer team was a big favorite, unbeaten in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and 9-1 overall, but Endicott stunned the Fighting Scots on their home field with a 2-0 victory in the rain.
Whenever these teams meet is it always a huge rivalry as well as a key CCC matchup. The Fighting Scots had allowed just two goals in the previous 10 games, but the visiting Gulls doubled that number with the 2-0 decision.
It was the first home loss for Gordon after four straight wins and marked only the second time all season they have been shut out; the other a 1-0 loss to Brandeis last month.
“This is a huge win for us,” said Endicott coach Jodi Kenyon, who is in her ninth year at the helm. “It’s a big conference game, and they were unbeaten in the conference. Gordon has had a great season so far, and it is always a terrific battle whenever we play. I have the highest respect for coach Marc Whitehouse and their program.”
The Gulls improved to 2-1-1 in the conference with the victory and are now 6-4-1 overall. They stunned Gordon with two first half goals and kept the pressure on the rest of the way. In the 12th minute of play junior forward Nicole Fournier scored what proved to be the game winner. Fighting Scots’ junior goalie Kari Christensen came way out of her net to smother a shot at the left post, but the ball squirted loose on the wet field, and Fournier had an empty net to shoot at.
“Our first goal was a momentum changer,” said Kenyon. “Getting ahead early like that gives you that little bit of confidence. You can never count a team out, especially one like Gordon, but that goal did set the tone.”
It was the third of the year for Fournier, who leads her team in points with 10. The game had been fairly even until that point, but Endicott kept the pressure on, and in the 32nd minute scored again when senior midfielder Micaela Hogan, who played at Newburyport High School, drilled a low shot from 25 yards out that went into the left corner of the net just out of the reach of Christensen for a 2-0 lead.
“Their first goal put us back on our heels a bit,” said Whitehouse. “We have a great defense and goalkeeper. I would never fault them. We just didn’t clear the ball, and when you get down one in a game like this you have to push. I thought we played well in the second half and had some good opportunities.
“We have to learn from this game, and start over starting on Saturday against Wentworth (another key CCC game). Now we put this one behind us and start another streak.”
Gordon’s two big scoring threats Caitlin Nedde (9 goals, assist) and Taylor McSherry (3 goals) were covered closely by Endicott’s defense led by junior Sarah Person, who broke up several scoring threats in what was a very physical game.
The Fighting Scots best bid came 15 minutes into the second half when McSherry had a clean breakaway, but Person hustled back to prevent her from getting a shot off.
“She’s rock solid back there,” said Kenyon. “I thought LeeAnn Card (freshman) worked very hard in the middle of the field, too. Defensively we were able to shut down their forwards, especially Nedde and McSherry, who are always a threat to score. Overall, the thing we’ve been focusing on is getting a collective team effort. We got that today, and it resulted in a very big win.
“We have been struggling to find the back of the net in some games. We talked about being opportunistic when we get chances. Today we were able to finish off those chances, and that resulted in two great goals.”
Former Masconomet standout Lexi Dussi of Boxford had a strong game for Endicott, and almost scored when her shot went over the net by inches. Gulls’ sophomore goalie Katie Donnelly improved her record to 5-3 in the shutout win. She has been alternating with junior Natalie Wysch this year. The Gulls have another big CCC test against Curry on Saturday and hope to keep the momentum going.