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BOLTON — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girls’ soccer team fell Tuesday evening under the lights to Nashoba, 3-0. Despite the shutout loss, G-D head coach Steven Naboicheck has a lot to be excited about for the remainder of the season.

“We configured the team to be a little more focused defensively in the first half,” Naboicheck said.

“We didn’t generate a lot of our offense until the second half. When we went to the 4-3-3 formation, the play really started to even out. We need to be able to step up to the bigger teams. I thought our girls really gave a good effort tonight.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Elyssa Briggs did a spectacular job keeping the Crusaders in the match with 15 tough saves.

Nashoba senior captain Sarah Clopeck kicked off the scoring with a sensational sliding goal 3:36 into the match on a beautiful through ball from senior sweeper Julia Hill.

Briggs came out of her goal box to try and cut down Clopeck’s angle, but she was caught off guard by the heads-up play by the veteran Chieftain striker.

The Groton-Dunstable defense held off the Nashoba attack for the remainder of the opening half, which led to limited offensive chances by the Crusaders.

Groton-Dunstable’s best chance of the opening half came off a pair of back-to-back point-blank rocket shots from Elena Biasi and Sydney Volpe. Biasi’s shot was initially punched away by Nashoba goalkeeper Ashley Spellman.

Spellman came up huge on the rebound strike by Volpe. Volpe’s shot caught the wind and started to curl towards the top corner of the net, but Spellman was able to secure it and punt the ball out of danger.

“Elena did a nice job distributing the ball in the midfield with Sydney Volpe,” Naboicheck said. “We got some new players worked into the fold tonight and they really looked well. We are starting to get our core group of girls back and the addition of Daniella Valles and Danielle Johnson gives us some added depth at the midfield.”

Groton-Dunstable senior captain Lindsay Werner hit teammate Ariana Lacombe on a breakaway along the right wing, but the ball had too much of a touch and rolled past the goal.

Werner went down with an ankle injury midway through the second half, but her contributions were limitless in the match. Werner locked down on Clopeck, the Chieftains’ top-scorer, the entire night.

The Crusaders made a couple of solid runs at net behind the speed of senior captain Brittany Belanger and Volpe, but both fizzled out due to strong Nashoba defense along the end line.

With the loss, Groton-Dunstable drops to 4-5-1 on the season, while the Chieftains improve to 7-2-2 overall. The Crusaders are back in action Saturday morning at Bromfield. The match is scheduled for 11 a.m..

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