Grey Ghosts Fall Just Short in Semifinal
LOWELL -- As the final minutes of the season ran off the scoreboard clock, Westford Academy pressed for a tying goal that never came.
The Grey Ghosts pushed Brookline to limit with its season on the line. But Brookline was equal to the challenge.
Eleanor Fisher scored two goals, including the decisive tally with 14:15 remaining, to lift Brookline past Westford, 3-2, at Cawley Stadium in an MIAA Division 1 North girls soccer semifinal Wednesday night.
Westford had tied the game, 2-2, on a goal by Meline Almasian with 14:27 to play. But Fisher put Brookline back in front just 12 seconds later.
Brookline keeper Katherine McElroy made sure the lead stood, finishing with nine saves.
Mya Barber-Mingo (8 saves) had a strong game in goal for the Grey Ghosts.
“We played all the way to the end,” said Westford coach Katie Andjus. “We left it all out on the field. We kept coming at them. But we couldn’t get any balls into the back of the net. Their goalie is just phenomenal.”
Westford defeated Brookline, 1-0, in a Div. 1 North semifinal en route to advancing to the state final last November. The Grey Ghosts were the third seed in this year’s sectional and finished with a 12-5-1 record.
Second-seeded Brookline (14-1-5) will play eighth-seeded Lexington (11-6-4) in the Div. 1 North final on Saturday at Manning Field in Lynn at 2:15 p.m.
“I think a lot of people kind of doubted us coming into the season because we lost so many seniors (to graduation) who were the core part of the team,” said Andjus. “Not many people thought we’d get this far or have the record we have. I’m super proud of them. They fought to the very end.”
The score was tied 1-1 at halftime. Brookline took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Hallie Friedman. Westford came back and evened the score when Brooke Ditcham scored on a penalty kick in the 28th minute. Ditcham, who had a strong all-around game, scored a goal in all three of Westford’s postseason games.
Brookline regained the lead, 2-1, on Fisher’s first goal with 34:38 left to play in the second half.
Westford began to carry the play offensively and finally tied on the score when Almasian scored from a scramble in front of the net. Unfortunately, Brookline didn’t waste any time going back in front, with Fisher scoring on a high-arching shot from the right wing from roughly 25 yards out just 12 seconds after Almasian’s goal.
“We figured we had the momentum and then they just came right back and scored,” said Andjus. “We tell them all the time that the first three minutes after a goal is the most important time.
“They just came right at us. Their girl hit a beautiful shot. There was nothing Mya could do. She couldn’t have placed that shot any better.”
Caroline Sawrey, Isabella Hillman, Ally Giovino, Isabel Doherty, Emily Morin and Sacha Pelosky played strong games for the Grey Ghosts.
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi