WILMINGTON — For the second straight year, the Salem High girls soccer team drew a Middlesex League opponent in the opening round of the MIAA Division 2 North tournament.
Once again, the Witches’ stay in the postseason was a brief one, with Wilmington prevailing, 7-1, on Monday at Alumni Field.
“Last year, we drew another Middlesex League school (Belmont) and lost 11-1,” said Salem coach Andrew Douglass. “Today, it was 2-1 at the half and a 4-1 game until the end.”
Salem, the 11th seed, finished its season at 9-9-1. Wilminbgton, the sixth seed, improved to 13-5-1 and will play defending state champion Winchester in the North quarterfinals.
Wilmington (13-5-1), the Middlesex League Freedom Division co-champion, added three goals in the final five minutes, two from Alyssa Granara (who finished the game with four goals total).
“We were just getting a little tired and tried to push forward,” Douglass said.
Granara scored the game’s first goal in the 13th minute. Only 67 seconds later, the Witches’ Madison White tied the score, slipping a close-range shot inside the left post. Cassadi O’Leary assisted.
The Wildcats regained the lead three minutes later, when Alyson Colantouni finished a breakaway down the left sideline.
Wilmington kept the pressure on Salem for the rest of the first half and almost all of the second. Salem goalkeeper Ella Galante-Barrett (15 saves) kept it a one-goal game until the 64th minute when Olivia Spizouco knocked in a rebound to make it 3-1.
“[Galante-Barrett] was great,” Douglass said. “She’s been great all year. She was All-NEC.”
Granara increased Wilmington’s lead to 4-1 in the 69th minute on a line drive from the left sideline that finished in the top right corner.
“We started out a little slow,” said Wilmington coach Sue Hendee. “At the end our fitness took over.”
Salem’s Marie McCarthy and Sierra Clawson each made big defensive stops. In the 29th minute, Sarah Veno headed a Wilmington corner kick out of harm’s way.
Witches freshman Isabella Cunha left the game with an ankle injury in the 70th minute.
After postseason appearances in back-to-back seasons, Salem graduates 10 seniors.
“We had a great year,” Douglas said. “For next season, we need to be self-motivated. They need to play in the offseason.”