Week Twelve : Character

Occasionally this beautiful game presents the unusual, the previously unseen or the downright ridiculous. Sport serves as multiple microcosms of life itself — emotions and lessons in nearly every touch, pass and goal. This weekend’s games provided ample example of sport revealing character.

Match of the Week: The U13 team has the junior program’s largest roster, including players who are normally giggling at the far end of the Park 2 bleachers well before kickoff. Disappointingly, not only were there only four players present on Saturday but three players were completely unaccounted for. Never fear when your names are Caroline Canally, Katie Hays, Aisling Lavelle and Amy Shipe.

True, they fell into an early 5-0 hole that seemed insurmountable … especially given they were competing with one fewer players than Jamaica Plain. But after a timeout and some regrouping, they stormed the barricades with full résistance, earning back four goals to close the period trailing by only one. Lavelle, Shipe and Hays poured their hearts out on the pitch, while Canally poured heart and tears in the goal. Afflicted with a severe stomach ailment, she valiantly  fought through guttural pain throughout, but succumbed with 14 minutes remaining. Thus, the final stage of the match involved five Panthers and three Ladies. Incredibly, the score during that span was 2-2, with Shipe and Lavelle each scoring from Hays, who had dropped into goal but was playing nearer to the halfway line.

Despite the eventual six-goal loss, the four girls were truly inspirational. Hays and Shipe played the entire match, with the latter on the pitch with no break yet near-constant movement. Hays never showed signs of tiring and her always infectious desire carried the team, adding four assists.  Lavelle fended off injury to score five goals in her breakout performance in Pink. Canally the warrior played strongly in goal despite the awful affliction. Parents and coaches alike are incredibly proud of the effort and attitude of the girls, this weeks first-ever shared Junior Players of the Week.

The U14 side played an upstart Newton Academy side on Sunday and led 2-1 at halftime. Playing without leading scorers Isabelle Fuchs (26 goals, 22 assists) and Caoilin Rice (22 goals, 11 assists) and soon-to-be all-time assist leader Honore Matteson (15 goals, 8 assists) was a tough ask. Goalkeeper Meghan Majeski — also not at the match. So the side struggled at the start, despite great goalkeeping from fill-in Olivia Austin. At halftime, it was suggested that the players be more selfish. The coach looked directly at Madeline Leahy and challenged her to be the dominant player in the second half, asking her to assume the goal-scoring, alpha mentality of her missing teammates. Instead of passing to teammates in the middle channel of the front third … maybe attack the defender and shoot.

The match finished with a 13-5 Pink Ladies victory. Of those 11 second-half goals Leahy scored five (of her six total) and assisted three. With her side leading 6-4 she wins the ball off a Newton turnover and immediately runs toward the goal, slowing only slightly to maneuver around a defender and create enough space that she can stun the ball just inside the far post. Immediately she turns and looks at the coach, challenge fulfilled. A star has been reborn and is shining brighter than ever. Senior Player of the Week and Goal of the Week.

Epilogue: Leahy’s mates also deserve high praise for raising their game — Austin, Sarah Berube, Angela De Sousa and Emma Della Volpe.

There were a few other fantastic goals this weekend, including:

  • U14 gives a goal to allow Newton to within 5-4. Immediately from the kickoff Berube to De Sousa to Leahy and never looked back.
  • U14’s Austin perfects the matador spin and fires low for final of team’s 13 goals.
  • U14 vs U14 boys on Saturday, tic tac toe with Fuchs scoring from De Sousa and Austin.
  • U13’s Lavelle bashes in from Hays while playing with three players against five players.
  • GHS’ Lily Supovitz hits a screamer from the halfway line from goalkeeper Helen Schmidt.
  • U18’s Molly Adams two-times on the run with her toe to the upper far corner to settle with Wolfpack.

It has already been a record-breaking season for Pink Ladies senior and junior programs. The following players are within striking distance of single-season and all-time records with two weeks to play:

The following records may fall over the final two weeks of the season:

  • Caoilin Rice, needs 3 goals for all-time Pink Ladies goals record
  • Honore Matteson, needs 5 assists for all-time Pink Ladies assists record
  • Caoilin Rice, needs 13 points for all-time Pink Ladies points record
  • Isabelle Fuchs, needs 8 goals for single-season senior goals record
  • Isabelle Fuchs, needs 1 assist for single-season senior assist record
  • Isabelle Fuchs, needs 8 points for single-season senior points record
  • Talia Hislop, needs 4 goals for all-time junior goals record
  • Talia Hislop, needs 11 points for all-time junior points record
  • Talia Hislop needs 7 goals for single-season junior goals record
  • Katie Hays, needs 3 assists for single-season junior assist record
  • Talia Hislop, needs 7 points for single-season junior points record