New formation carries Lady Trojan booters past Seymour
A new strategy paid off for the Weston girls soccer team on Saturday afternoon, as it beat Seymour of the NVL 4-0 at home to secure a spot in the State tournament. Weston raised its record to 5-3-3 and ran a formation for the first time in blanking Seymour (5-6).
Lady Trojan coach Joanna Hallac said she had her team try the new style because, "With the players and personalities we have, we wanted to shore things up defensively while not having us lose anything offensively."
The new starting configuration included girls from all four grades. Freshmen Anna Dickstein, Alex Fontaine and Grace Mattison; sophomore Rachel Lugossy; and juniors Callie Bowie and Hannah Hutchins started for Weston; along with seniors Emily Ando, Julia McDonald, Nikki Pressman and captains Sam Druks and Meg Sanborn.
Hallac was very impressed with how her girls handled the change, and admitted that, "I could relax more than usual because we were very much dictating the play."
Weston started things quickly and never looked back. Keeping the ball on the Seymour side of the field for much of the first half, Weston got the scoring started with a goal by Mattison 5:30 into the game. Lady Wildcat goalkeeper Reba Goodrow had a diving block on Bowie's shot a few minutes later, but could not prevent Weston from scoring off a corner kick after that. The ball danced around the goal line for a while, only to be kicked in by Pressman to give the Lady Trojans a 2-0 lead.
Seymour finally pushed the ball down to Weston's half of the field, but its defense overmatched the Lady Wildcats' offense. Senior Macky Young was put into the game and quickly took a shot with about 13 minutes left on the clock, but Goodrow saved it and Seymour soon had another opportunity near Weston's goal. A free kick was missed by Seymour and Weston regained control of the ball, only to have a few close shots miss the net to end the half. Weston was playing very single-minded soccer, which Young attributes to "a lot of good combination passes."
With 46 seconds left in the half, Bowie got the ball alone in the middle of the field and took a shot on goal, only to have it deflect off the top beam and ricochet off. Weston kept its 2-0 lead going into the half, which Hallac said, "is the most dangerous halftime score you can have. The opponents still have hope that they are in it and can come back, while we still have to stay awake and not get too comfortable being ahead."
The second half was more of the same for Weston, with the Lady Trojans retaining possession of the ball for much of the time and running their upbeat offense again. A diving stop by Goodrow saved a Bowie attempt seven minutes in, and Dickstein broke away to take a shot five minutes later. Although that was unsuccessful, Pressman scored her second goal of the night soon thereafter, using a lefty hook shot to the right corner of the goal to make it 3-0.
On another cornerkick by Bowie, Goodrow quickly cleared the ball, only to have Druks gain control and shoot it high. Seymour then ran with it, getting the ball near the Weston goal with few defenders in sight, but McDonald raced over to stop that threat. Bowie again took a shot that deflected off the top of the goal with 12:30 left, and the Lady Wildcats brought the ball back to Weston's side.
However, Seymour's first real shot on goal posed no challenge to sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Maretz, who dove to her side to block the attempt. Bowie got the ball yet again and raced downfield with it, finally scoring and giving Weston its fourth score of the game.
Weston finished the game with 25 total shots, while Seymour had less than five. The Lady Trojans have been ravaged by injuries this year and has had four starters out all seasons. However, the freshmen have come up from JV to quickly make an impact, including Dickstein, Fontaine, and Mattison, along with Jenna Klaassen and most recently Sydney Allon (who got her first varsity action in this game).
"I have been so impressed with these freshmen," Hallac said. "Our injuries have let them mature and step up, and the way we have handled adversity this year has reassured me that we will still be competitive next year after we lose 10 seniors."