Crusaders rally to top Patriots – Lowell Sun
TOWNSEND — The Groton-Dunstable Regional girls soccer found itself in an unfamiliar position Tuesday night.
A first-half goal by host North Middlesex Regional meant the Crusaders went into halftime trailing in a contest for the first time this season.
In the second half, however, the guests showed their resiliency as they buried a pair of goals to propel the Crusaders to a 2-1 victory over the Patriots under the lights of 1A-Auto Field.
Groton-Dunstable improves to 9-1 on the season with the win while North Middlesex falls to 3-4-2.
“I had a chat with my girls at halftime and we fixed a few things and they realized that once we started to play our game we’d be better off. I think our girls came out a little relaxed,” said Crusaders head coach Sean Murphy. “Coming off the bus, the girls were a little giggly and chatty so I was nervous coming into this one tonight.”
This was a far cry from the first time the two teams met back on Sept. 14 when Crusaders cruised to a 6-0 win against the Patriots.
“The North Middlesex team we saw tonight is what we expected to see a few weeks ago,” said Murphy. “The team we expected showed up tonight and gave us a real challenge.”
North Middlesex drew first blood in this one as Alisha Praileau put the hosts on the scoreboard in the 12th minute when she beat goalkeeper Anna Carney — who later left with an injury — on a rebound in front for a 1-0 lead.
North Middlesex had opportunities to add to its lead over the final 20 minutes of the first half. Strong play from Julia Chase, Amanda Regan, Olivia Robarge and Praileau sparked the hosts, but North Middlesex failed to add to its advantage and carried a 1-0 lead into halftime.
Groton-Dunstable’s best scoring opportunity in the first 40 minutes came during the 40th minute when Danielle Thompson beat the North Middlesex defense and walked in on a breakaway only to have her scoring bid go wide past North Middlesex goalie Samantha Rusch.
In the second half, Thompson took advantage of another chance as she beat Rusch from inside the box during the 44th minute of the match to level the score at 1.
In th 56th minute, Faith Kosiba blasted a beauty from 20 yards away that beat Rusch to give the guests a 2-1 lead.
The Crusaders made the lead stand up as they bottled up the North Middlesex scoring attack for the final 20 plus minutes.
“We came out on the short end but I was really pleased with what I saw out of our girls today,” said North Middlesex head coach Patti McColl. “They were relaxed and played hard all night long. They are such a great group of girls and they play the right way. When we put the ball in the back of the net in the first half, it was exciting because not many teams have done that against a good Groton-Dunstable team.”