GRACE SEABURY flies past the Red Raider defense to score one of her three goals on Monday night in Melrose. (Beth Boudreau Photography)
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — For the third time this season, senior captain Abby Boudreau and the Wakefield defense left a zero up on the scoreboard for the opposing team.
For the first time this season, the Warrior offense was just as impressive, specifically junior Grace Seabury who scored a hat trick to lead Wakefield to a 3-0 victory in Melrose on Monday, improving their record to 2-3-1 on the season.
That win came three days after Wakefield’s first W of the season, 1-0 over Wilmington at Landrigan Field.
“The girls’ intensity level for both the Wilmington and Melrose games was very high,” said head coach Cara Luca. “With that intensity comes great ball movement and great defensive skills.”
Those defensive skills were on display all game against Melrose at Fred Green Field. Leading the back line was senior captain Allida Kelliher who did a phenomenal job of not only clearing her zone, but finding teammates with long passes.
Seabury benefitted from one of those passes for her second goal, it came on a long free hit from Kelliher up the field. Seabury tipped it past the last defender and ran onto it for a breakaway, beating the goalie with a quick move from her forehand to her backhand before an easy finish. That came with eight minutes left in the final quarter to give Wakefield a strong 2-0 lead.
Seabury’s first goal came on a penalty stroke. She stole a free hit from deep in Melrose territory and was eventually fouled in the crease as she, senior captain Christina Covelle and junior Vivian Mottl were battling to get the ball across the line. Seabury roofed the penalty in the top left corner for the 1-0 lead with two minutes to halftime.
While the Warriors, who hadn’t scored more than one goal in each of their first five games, would eventually get some insurance, their defense went to work on keeping the lead in the 3rd quarter. Boudreau shut down an early second half chance on a clean look from the weakside off a corner.
Later in the 3rd, the Warriors shut down another corner. Senior Olivia Johnsen was effective all game at running off the line on corners to disrupt Melrose passing, and she did so again here, getting a piece of an attempted pass into the middle. That ball was then cleared by her sister, senior Emma Johnsen.
Melrose got another quick corner to start off the 4th but Boudreau was up to the task with a left foot kick save.
Covelle then got a good shot on net but the Melrose goalie made a great save. In the meantime, Kelliher, the Johnsen’s, senior Angelina Nardone, junior Charlotte Rossicone, senior Riley Suntken and multiple other defenders continued to keep the ball away from their net while midfielders and attackers like Seabury, Covelle, senior Yana Herzog, senior Allison Connor, senior Elise Theriault and senior Allison Forti controlled the pace of play with good defense and passing as the Warriors controlled possesion in the final quarter.
“Things are coming together,” said Luca. “Our defense is standing strong and offensively, we are starting to feel more comfortable with each other which is allowing for quick ball movement.”
Seabury’s final tally was another example of incredible speed and skill, but it started with some of that ball movement that improved throughout the game.
Theriault sent a free hit from the midfield up to Olivia Johnsen who led Seabury on with a pass and two defenders to beat. Seabury cut to the outside, getting past both Red Raiders before placing a backhand shot perfectly in the low, right corner to put an exclamation point on this one.
“It was a great, team win,” said Luca, whose Warriors will take a two-game winning streak into Stoneham today at 4 p.m. for another big Freedom Division matchup. They travel to Burlington on Friday at 4 p.m.