GROTON — The Groton-Dunstable girls soccer team is District bound, and the Lady Crusaders have been competitive against a tough schedule in almost every game. But the one facet of its game that has been wanting has been the ability to finish.
On a cold evening in its final regular season game, the Lady Crusaders enjoyed its best finishing game of the season, riding four well-constructed goals to an impressive 4-0 win over North Middlesex.
“All four goals were pretty goals,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Sue Hilbrunner. “Putting the ball into the net is something we have worked hard on, and tonight the difference was the way we finished. It was Senior Night and the seniors came into the game pumped up.”
“Groton-Dunstable scored some nice goals,” said North Middlesex coach Charlie Valacer. “Julia Murray played well in goal and there was nothing she could do on any of the goals. I thought we played better in the second half, and I thought that Shelby Koutrouba, Lauren Ferro and Mackenzie Sharp turned in strong efforts for us.”
North Middlesex mounted a quick threat in the first minute of the game, but Groton-Dunstable goaltender Kailyn Rekos stopped Ferro’s shot from outside the right post.
Nine minutes in, Ferro stole the ball on right wing, made a strong run and fired a shot that was stopped by Rekos, who notched the shutout with seven saves.
The Lady Crusaders jumped on top at 13 minutes. Sarah Hilton sent a perfect cross in front of the goal and Kiley Hardy headed the ball under the cross bar to make it 1-0.
At the midway point of the first half, Murray kept the Lady Patriots within a goal when she stopped Hardy’s hard 18-yard shot.
The Lady Crusaders broke the game open with a pair of tallies in a seven-minute span.
At 26 minutes, Meredith Shea boomed a 30-yard free kick into the upper right corner of the net to make it 2-0.
At 33 minutes, Corinne Kraemer sent a long cross from right wing to the left post to Anna Yanchenko, who sent a short shot into the net to make it 3-0.
Groton-Dunstable continued to apply pressure and nearly added to the lead with three minutes remaining in the first half. Hilton sent a cross to Yanchenko, whose shot bounced off the cross bar.
Groton-Dunstable took the 3-0 advantage to halftime, owning a 7-4 edge in shots on goal.
Any thoughts of a North Middlesex comeback were quickly dashed when the Lady Crusaders added to the lead two minutes into the second half. Shea sent a pass to the right post to Dani Kenney, who fired a short shot into the net to make it 4-0.
North Middlesex didn’t quit and kept working to get on the board.
At three minutes, Ferro ripped a shot off the right post.
At 10 minutes, Ferro’s hard right wing shot was stopped by Rekos.
At 16:30, Kim Morgan sent a pass to Koutrouba, whose quick one-timer was denied by Rekos, who earned the shutout with seven saves.
Murray made 10 saves in the game for North Middlesex.
Groton-Dunstable improved to 7-7-4 with the victory and now waits for the Central Mass. Division 2 pairings.