MANCHESTER, NH – Any hope that Friday afternoon’s showdown between Trinity and Derryfield might help one team set itself clearly apart atop Division III girls soccer, evaporated after 100 minutes of grueling, physical play.
The Pioneers and Cougars battled to a 1-1 tie, as 80 minutes of regulation play and two 10-minute overtime sessions failed to settle matters.
Unbeaten Trinity “dropped” to 7-0-1 with the tie, while Derryfield’s record now stands at 6-2-1. The teams had met three weeks ago, with Trinity pulling out a hard-fought 2-1 win.
“Our girls played with a lot of heart today,” said Derryfield Coach Jim Watt. “Trinity is a team that presses all over the field and we knew that we had to match their intensity.”
Trinity, looking to sweep the season series, carried the play through the first half and into the second. Sophomore Addie Bosworth’s goal, in the 21st minute, gave the Pioneers the early lead. Bosworth stole the ball, made a nice run down the left side, then fired a low shot past Derryfield keeper Ashley Hardner (15 saves).
The Pioneers had multiple chances to add to their lead but had trouble finishing plays.
Early in the second half, Trinity had a golden opportunity. A shot by Emma Service was blocked near the edge of the penalty box. The ball wound up on the foot of Bosworth, who turned and fired just over the crossbar.
It remained 1-0 until Christine Nadeau notched the equalizer for Derryfield in the 58th minute. Derryfield caught a break when Trinity defender Maggie Berleth went to block a pass by Emma Losey, only to have the ball take a freak hop over her knee. Nadeau wasted no time, flying past Berleth, pushing the ball ahead about five yards and then ripping a rocket past Trinity keeper Kayla Sisson (6 saves).
Giving up the goal seemed to give Trinity a new sense of urgency. The Pioneers pressed the attack, keeping the Cougars back on their heels. Most of the 50/50 balls were getting touched first by the visitors.
“Our girls did exactly what we asked them to do today,” said Trinity Coach Mike Martinez. “One of our weaknesses this year has been the 50/50 balls. But today we got about half of them, and that was a win for us.”
But despite the territorial edge, the Pioneers couldn’t net the go-ahead goal. Trinity’s best bid came off a tremendous run by Lexi Spradling. The senior sprinted with the ball down the left side, then started a series of passes that ended with her getting the ball back at the mouth of the crease. Hardner was caught out of position by the pass but Spradling’s deflection with her knee grazed the top of the crossbar.
“We’ve been a ‘2 goal’ team all year,” said Martinez. “We play a good team and we score two goals. We play a not-so-good-team and we score two goals. We need to do a better job (finishing).”
Exhausted, neither team was able to put together much of an attack in the two overtime sessions. The best bid came from Derryfield’s Nadeau, whose head ball off a corner kick late in the second overtime barely missed sneaking inside the goalpost. Nadeau jogged away shaking her head, knowing she had an open net to work with.