Warriors lace up for pediatric cancer

Published October 28, 2020

THE WAKEFIELD High girls’ soccer team wore yellow laces on Saturday to support the Go 4 the Goal Foundation which helps local families who have children battling cancer. Each player made a donation to the foundation. To donate or for more information visit go4thegoal.org. (Wakefield soccer photo)


WAKEFIELD — During a season in which home games are at a premium, it’s best to make sure all of your traditions happen as soon as possible.

The Wakefield High girls’ soccer team already lost one of their five scheduled home games when their Wilmington matchup for Oct. 17 was postponed along with the rest of WMHS sports scheduled for that weekend. 

So, playing against rival Melrose at the Galvin Middle School on Saturday, the Warriors first set out to honor the four seniors in their program for Senior Day: Liliana Carioli, Courtney Collins, Haley Faulkner and Idalis Rodriguez. 

In addition to playing for the class of 2021, the Warriors wore yellow laces to show their support in the fight against childhood cancer. It’s an annual tradition for the team. Each player also made a donation to the LaceUp 4 Pediatric Cancer foundation that supports local families who have children battling cancer. 

“It’s very important to us as a program to give back to the community and we love to support this specific foundation,” said Wakefield head coach Steph Martin. 

THE SENIORS on the Wakefield High girls’ soccer team were honored on Saturday. Pictured from left to right is Courtney Collins, Haley Faulkner, Liliana Carioli and Idalis Rodriguez. (Wakefield soccer photo)

There was a game to play too. A close first half ended with Melrose leading 1-0. The visitors got an early goal on a penalty kick in the 3rd quarter and tacked on one more to defeat Wakefield 3-0.

The Warriors, parents and fans made sure it was a day these seniors will always cherish. 

Rodriguez is a speedy forward on the JV team. 

“Idalis brings great leadership to her team and has improved tremendously over her soccer career,” said Martin. 

Collins, a forward, is a two-year varsity player. 

“Courtney has stepped up her level of play since joining the team last season and I expect her to make some solid contributions up at forward this season,” said Martin. 

Carioli, a defender, is a three-year varsity player and a captain. 

“Liliana is an extremely versatile player and has made the switch to a defensive role for us this year,” said Martin. “Liliana is a very skilled and smart player and we are grateful to have her anchoring the D for us this year.”

Faulkner, a midfielder, is a three-year varsity player and a captain. 

“Haley has been a player who continues to improve every year and even from one game to the next,” said Martin. “She’s a selfless player with an incredible work ethic, and is an incredible role model for our younger players.”

Faulkner created a couple of chances in the first quarter on Saturday, especially working on the right side of the field with junior Kayli Porter. It was an even game through one, the modifications for this season not altering the feeling of a classic rivalry game between two evenly-matched teams. 

Junior Bailey McDevitt was phenomenal in net all game but especially in the second quarter when the Melrose forwards began to find their footing. The Red Raiders hit a post early in the quarter. McDevitt was often forced to charge and disrupt breakaways on diving stops in the box. Her first one of these plays in the second quarter drew a cheer from the Wakefield fans and she followed up seconds later with an even more impressive stop, this time on a one-on-one breakaway. 

Battles for possession continued throughout and just as it seemed a scoreless draw would be the halftime scenario, Melrose struck on another through ball, this one timed perfectly to an open forward and finished to make it 1-0.

McDevitt saved her best for last right before half, on yet another dangerous ball that found the box. They say soccer isn’t a contact sport, especially this season, but the junior keeper made a play that goalie coaches everywhere would be proud of, fighting through contact and winning the ball on a slide. 

Melrose made it 2-0 early in the 3rd on a penalty kick that came from a foul occurring on a cross. 

That goal seemed to jolt the Warriors forward a bit as junior forward Ashlee Purcell started to put the pressure on a fast and versatile Melrose back line. Purcell created two corner kicks in a row but Wakefield couldn’t get any great chances. The promising play included junior Maeve Recene who won possession in midfield and sent a nice cross over. 

McDevitt continued to make some quality saves to keep the Warriors in it as the score was 2-0 after three. 

In the fourth, Wakefield again did their best to push forward but the Melrose defense was up to every challenge. Melrose iced it on a goal with 10 minutes left in the game. 

The two teams will have a rematch this Saturday, 12 p.m. at Fred Green Field in Melrose.