Category Archives: Brookline

Abby Gerdes’ goal gets Natick by Brookline 1-0 in D1 state semi-finals

Ashley Siaba (10) and Maya Leschly (17) chase a loose ball

(Lynn MA) The third time was not the charm for Brookline.

Instead it was same old, same old, as they fell to Natick 1-0 in the Division 1 state semi-finals on a very cold Wednesday night at Manning Field.

The Redhawks had a win (2-1) and a tie (0-0) versus Brookline in Bay State League play this season.

Senior Abby Gerdes had one of those two goals back in the September win at Brookline.

Abby added to her goal total in the second half to give the Redhawks (15-2-5) all they needed to advance to the finals on Saturday (at Worcester State) against Wachusett.

Natick celebrates Abby Gerdes’ second half goal

Maya Leschly (17)

“It was a great battle between two really good teams,” said Brookline coach Rob Sprague afterwards.  “Both were scrapping for opportunities and in the second half it fell to Natick.”

Abby Gerdes netted the game winner at 18:28. The senior found room on the right when she broke past a defender and into the open.  “Honestly, I play a lot on instinct,” she said.  “If I overthink I could screw up.  I saw the net and just went for it.  It wasn’t any different from practice.”

No surprise to Natick coach Dave Wainwright that Abby Gerdes would score such a huge goal: “Abby is just relentless in the box.  When she found it on her foot she knew exactly where she was going to go.  She’s done it all season.”

Abby also had a glittering chance in the first half.  She came in on the right and shot hard for the far corner.  Brookline goalie Katherine McElroy dove and tipped the shot just enough to keep it wide of the net.

Abby Gerdes’ shot deflected wide by GK Katherine McElroy

Also in the first half a hard Brookline entry shot bounced loose from Natick goalie Allison Jeter but her teammates were there to clear the ball away.

GK Allison Jeter give up a rebound but teammates arrived to clear it

Natick shot on the way

The high quality of play kept most of the action at midfield.  With few advantages for either side I suspected that this game would end in overtime or via penalty kicks.  Based on how uncomfortably cold it was, I was glad for the earlier ending.

Rob Sprague: “We gave up a little bit of space to (Abby) Gerdes.  She got a step and then a shot off. It looked from where I was standing as if the ball swerved.  There was a gust of wind and it seemed to knuckle on our goalie.”

Dave Wainwright: “At halftime we were worried about Eleanor Fisher and made some adjustments that helped us in the second half against her.”

Abby Gerdes: “It was easier to play calmly because of the composure the team had.  It made me confident while I was shooting.”

Eleanor Fisher (4) shoots

Hailey Murphy: “Brookline is our biggest competitor.  They’re a great team.”

Brookline was undefeated in nineteen straight games before tonight’s loss.

The Warriors (15-2-5) were the #2 seed in the North while the Redhawks were the #10 seed in the South.

In the 2-1 win back in September, Brookline scored first (Thea Feldgoise header) but thirty seconds later according to Coach Sprague, “Abby Gerdes dribbled through our entire defense and GK and scored.”

Natick has a chance Saturday for their first girls soccer title.  I wouldn’t bet against them!

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Abby Gerdes (3) and Hailey Murphy (13) in on GK Katherine McElroy

Abby Gerdes (3) and Lindsey Mahoney (25)

Corner kick action in the Brookline end

Eleanor Fisher (4), Maya Leschly (17), and Or Yahalom (7) look for a rebound

Katherine McElroy

Abby Gerdes looking for a rebound

Natick GK Allison Jeter

Natick starts to celebrate

Serena Sink

 

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Brookline on to state D1 semi-finals after 2-0 win vs Lexington

Brookline captains Hallie Friedman, Alexa Ribatt, Katherine McElroy with trophy

Lexington captains Awani Kabra, Sheyda Hershberger, Reina Ades, Abigail Donaghy, Coach Alex Caram

Brookline extends their undefeated streak to nineteen games.

(Lynn MA) Nineteen straight games without a loss.

Brookline put the 19th together this afternoon defeating Lexington, 2-0, in the Division 1 North finals at Manning Field.

Junior Maya Leschly paced Brookline with an assist and a goal.

The Warriors (15-1-5) will be back in Lynn on Wednesday in the D1 state semi-finals.

Their opponent will be determined in the D1 South finals between #1 Newton South and #10 Natick on Monday.

A win by Natick would lead to an interesting rematch with Brookline.  Both teams are in the Bay State League and Natick has a win and a tie against the Warriors.

I saw Lexington put plenty of pressure on North Andover in their semi-finals victory.  Not today.  The Warriors did an excellent job of containing sophomore Aleia Gisolfi-McCready and freshman Kirsty Carnan.

“We haven’t been here before,” said Lex coach Alex Caram, “and they have.  I think experience really played a factor.”

That lack of experience put Brookline on the board (24:49) in the first half.

Unable to clear, the Warriors had time to send the ball from the right to an uncovered Maddie Priebe.

Maddie Priebe (6) about to kick a bouncing pass

Maddie Priebe (6) gets her left foot into a shot

Shot on the way

The BHS junior put a strong left foot into a bouncing pass and beat Lexington goalie Eliza Stokes with a shot just inside the near post.

“Maddie is one of our smartest players,” explained Brookline coach Robert Sprague post-game.  “She’s not a big player but she knows where to be to get that type of shot.  She’s scored a handful of goals like that this season.”

Junior Maya Leschly had the assist: “We have been working a lot this week on getting wide and crossing it into the box.  I did my part and Maddie had a great finish.”

In seeing Brookline for the first time, I hadn’t witnessed Katherine McElroy (Warriors goalie) in action.  I had read about her, recruited by D1 Michigan, but hadn’t seen why.  Now I know.

Goalie Katherine McElroy about to take a free kick.

Katherine McElroy

On Brookline free kicks, it was Katherine taking them.  The first one I saw her take traveled over fifty yards!  She took at least seven of them and they were all landing in the box area with plenty of pace on them.  The only exception was a kick from straightway (I have a picture of it.) that went just over the crossbar.  Credit Lex goalie Eliza Stokes for handling everything Katherine sent her way.  What a weapon!

“We were prepared for her kicks and Eliza did well against them,” said Coach Caram.  “We just couldn’t get behind the defense to really test her.”

Brookline’s one-goal lead carried into the second half.

Lexington, despite some good midfield play by Carolyn Lane, could not mount an attack with the formation they were using.  Desperate times require desperate maneuvers.

“We went to three in the back,” said Coach Caram.  “It was a chance we had to take to push our numbers forward.”

With fewer players defending, the Warriors collected the back-breaker at 7:39.  Sophomore Sam Friedman raced down the right side and had time to send a pass to a wide-open Maya Leschly breaking down the middle.  Brookline 2, Lexington 0.

Sam Friedman (19) about to get an assist on Brookline’s second goal

“We’ve been working on that back-post cross for about half the season,” recalled Coach Sprague.  “Maya was in the right spot and took a nice touch on it.  She made it look easy but in a big game like this it wasn’t really that easy.”

Maya Leschly: “Sam (Friedman) was so selfless.  She saw me and passed it where I could shoot. It was a great pass.”

That was it for Lexington (11-7-4).

“No one expected us to even be here,” said Coach Caram.  “I think we really elevated our play in the tournament and surprised a lot of people.  We had great leadership and I’m so proud of these girls.”

The sun was shining but it didn’t fool anyone at Manning Field.  There was a breeze that felt like the next season we experience in these parts.

Brookline has given up only eight goals in twenty-one games.  They’ve scored thirty-nine goals.

Brookline is in the Bay State League while Lexington is in the Middlesex League.

Coach Caram: “We’re a really young team.  Now we have experience for next year.  Hopefully we can get back here again.”

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brookline raises the trophy

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready chases down a loose ball

Brookline team with trophy

Carolyn Lane

Erin O’Brien (3) and Maddie Priebe (6) celebrate first goal

Jen Fiore (9) and Maya Leschly (17)

Lexington team with finalists trophy

Maddie Priebe chased by Carolyn Lane

Sam Friedman (19) and Sheyda Hershberger (2)

Sheyda Herschberger (2) and Avani Kabra (8)

Maya Leschly (17) seeks out Sam Friedman after 2nd goal

Maya Leschly in front and Isa Lundstrom Svahnqvist in back.

 

 

 

 

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