LUNENBURG — The Bromfield girls captured their first-ever Central Mass. Division 3 soccer championship a season ago, and on Wednesday night the Lady Trojans met Maynard with a berth in the championship game at stake. In a game that was played close to the vest, Maddie Darden’s first half goal stood up and Bromfield advanced to the finals with a tough 1-0 victory.
The game featured just ten shots on goal, six by Bromfield, as the defenses of both teams were outstanding. Bromfield goaltender Aly Marteney stopped all four shots she faced, aided by strong defensive support from Alli Reusch, Caitlin Nygren, Julia Alexander, Robin Neschke and Niki Jordan.
“This was a defensive-oriented game and there were very few shots on goal,” said Bromfield coach Gary Wenger. “Maddie’s goal was huge and came after a very nice cross from Elise (Bilodeau). That goal didn’t change the way we played. Aly came up big in goal at the end of the game when Maynard applied some offensive pressure.”
Bromfield had three of the four shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, the most meaningful from Darden 13 minutes into the game. Bilodeau made a perfect cross from right wing to Darden at the left post, and the senior tapped the ball into the open net to make it 1-0.
The Lady Trojans protected the advantage with gusto, not allowing a Maynard shot on goal until 32 minutes in. Maynard used far more substitutes in the first half, hoping to be the fresher team in the second half.
Bromfield owned an edge in play over the first 20 minutes of the second half. The two best scoring chances over that span were a shot over the cross bar by each team, by Maynard’s Katie Jones five minutes in, and by Darden of Bromfield near the midway point of the half.
Reusch stepped up for the Lady Trojans from her sweeper position, diffusing some opportunities for the Tigers by anticipating plays in the defensive zone.
Maynard called a timeout with 15 minutes left and responded with increased offensive pressure. At the 28-minute mark, a hard shot off Marteney’s hands created a wild scramble in front of the goal before the ball was eventually cleared.
In the final minutes, Marteney’s aggressive play helped preserve the lead. She charged out of the net to challenge Maynard’s Anna Costello as the two players arrived at the ball at the same time.
“Aly made a huge play near the end of the game when she came out of her net,” said Wenger.