By Ed Niser

MARLBORO — Coming off a six-goal offensive explosion in its opening-round win over Doherty, the North Middlesex offense could not get into a rhythm in Tuesday night’s Central Mass. Division 1 girls’ soccer quarterfinal.

No. 3 Marlboro (12-3-4) struck early and never looked back as it shut out No. 6 North Middlesex, 4-0, at Kelleher Field.

Marlboro advances to Thursday’s semifinal against No. 2 Nashoba Regional at 5 p.m. at Doyle Field in Leominster.

North Middlesex head coach Margaret Desilets was not disappointed with the effort her team put forth.

The Patriots conclude their season at 12-4-3 and as Mid-Wach C champions.

North Middlesex dropped the two teams’ early season clash, 6-0, in Marlboro.

“Marlboro is a very skilled team,” said Desilets. “I am not upset about the score because the last time we played them they scored three goals in the first two minutes. This is the fastest pace of soccer we have played all season. Marlboro is in great shape and it definitely was a shock to us. We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in. ”

The Panthers were led by sophomore forward Halle McCabe, who had two goals and an assist. North Middlesex freshman goalkeeper Catherine Nkwantah put forth a strong effort between the pipes, stopping 16 shots.

Marlboro pushed the pace from the early going and was rewarded on a booming set piece from Maddi Farrell (goal, 2 assists). Farrell’s cross was headed home from atop the goal box by McCabe and rippled the right corner to put the Panthers up 1-0.

North Middlesex forward Myah Johnson made a strong push at goal in the 15th minute, but the sophomore was abruptly greeted by Marlboro goalkeeper Nicole Galliac before she could register a shot.

McCabe advanced the ball down deep into the North Middlesex third and uncorked a winding shot at Nkwantah. Nkwantah was screened on the play and still managed to field the shot and punt the ball out of harm’s way.

The Panthers tacked on an insurance goal in the 35th minute, when McCabe won the ball at the midfield and Nkwantah came off of her line to try to cut off the angle. McCabe made a quick move and knocked the ball into the back of the net.

Johnson had a chance late in the opening half, but her shot went wide left and sailed over the end line.

North Middlesex upped the offensive pressure in the 62nd minute, as junior captain Hadley Beauregard gained control of the ball on the left side. Beauregard ripped a shot from atop the 18-yard box that whistled wide.

Marlboro outshot the Patriots 20-5.

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