The closest shot on net by the Chieftains was credited to Sarah Klopeck on a low-lying cross sent in by Carrie Cheung from the left wing. Murray was able to recover and keep the ball in front of her, stymying any chance of a rebound opportunity for Nashoba.
North Middlesex only managed to record two shots in the first half. Other stat lines from the first half included five fouls, zero corner kicks, and three free kicks for the Patriots.
The second half was more of the same as the Nashoba Chieftains kept putting the pressure on the visiting Patriots. North Middlesex goalkeeper Murray played out of her head, stopping a four-shot barrage by the Nashoba offense with 34:25 remaining in the second half. Murray finished the game with a muddy keeper jersey and 20 saves to her credit.
"I think the team played really hard and really wanted it today. They played their hearts out," said Murray. "Nashoba hustled a lot. They were in there (goalie box) all the time. It was tough, but I really wanted the shutout."
North Middlesex's game plan consisted of going into a defensive shell of sorts, based on the strong play that the Division 1 Central Mass semifinalist Chieftains were capable of. Patriots head coach Charlie Valacer offered his comment on Thursday's game. "We played an extra person back on defense today knowing that they are a very good club, and we just played great defensively. The goalie made 20 saves, but they must have had 30 shots on net.
It was a strong game defensively for the Patriots backline today, headlined by Alyssa Robinson. The Patriots did a good job pinching down on the ball in the Chieftains offensive third, which helped keep Murray's shutout intact.
Valacer is very pleased with the progress his girls' soccer team is making as the season wages on. "I thought we had some luck going for us today, and I thought the defense played well. Robinison has played well all season, and we have played like this for 10 or 15 minutes each half, but we never put together a full 80 minutes of it. We put together 80 today."
Last time out, the Patriots fell to Shrewsbury 5-0, but Valacer believes this game is a good momentum builder going into their remaining matches. "It's a good pick-me-up for the halfway point through the season. We got beat 5-0 our last game. It was a good team defense win, and they came out with a tie."