THE WAKEFIELD High girls’ soccer team celebrates their 2-1 victory over Woburn on Friday. The D2 Warriors have defeated two D1 teams in a row. They will host another tonight, 6 p.m. as first-place Winchester comes to town. (Courtesy Photo)
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield High girls’ soccer team pushed their winning streak to three games with a convincing 3-0 road victory over Belmont on Monday.
It was the second shutout in the last three games for senior captain goalie Bailey McDevitt and a strong Warrior defense who has only allowed one goal during that three game stretch.
Both the Woburn and Belmont victories were espeically important for the Div. 2 Warriors. The Tanners and Marauders are both Div. 1 teams who were projected to make the D1 state tournament in the MIAA’s first power rankings.
“We knew these last few games were very important,” said head coach Steph Martin. “Our team talks a lot about doing what we are capable of as a group instead of getting caught up in who the opponent is. We are a hard working, gritty and competitive group and when we put it all together, it certainly is fun to watch as a coach.”
Senior captain Ashlee Purcell continued her terrific season with her best week so far, scoring four goals during the three-game winning streak. Purcell headlined this week’s Boston Globe’s EMass Girls’ Soccer Players of the Week. She had a goal and an assist against Burlington last Wednesday, followed by the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win over Woburn on Friday and two more tallies against Belmont.
Senior captain Kayli Porter scored twice against Burlington and once against Belmont. Senior defender Audrey Longo picked up an assist against Belmont.
The Warrior coaches gave McDevitt the player of the game against Belmont for her third shutout of the season.
Freshman Aliza Margolis earned player of the game honors against Woburn when her first career varsity goal gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead on their home Walton Field.
Her classmate, freshman Shea Suntken, won a battle in the defensive zone on the right sideline and earned a free kick which she sent a perfect ball into space, allowing Margolis to run onto it, poke it past one defender, cut back to her left foot to beat another and finish at the top of the box, the ball finding the bottom left corner of the net.
That goal came just before halftime of what had previously been a stalemate and battle for possession.
The Warriors have been counting on a deep and talented group of defenders this season who all showed up ready to compete once again vs. Woburn. In addition to Suntken and Longo, players like Emma Greatorex, Kaylee O’Rourke, Mary Kerrigan and Alexis Manzi all battled to keep Wakefield in control with McDevitt contining to organize the lines and come up with key stops.
O’Rourke had a clutch block on a well-struck header off a free kick to keep it at 1-0 with 15 minutes to play.
Woburn had multiple corner attempts in the second half but the Warriors continued to shut them down.
On one of those second half corners, McDevitt had a huge deflection off another strong header.
As the Warriors battled to get some chances, Woburn never let up.
Wakefield got the insurance they needed on Purcell’s goal scored with about seven minutes left. It started with a punt by McDevitt. Purcell settled it in the midfield and Porter took off down the left sideline. Purcell led her classmate to run onto it and Porter later hit a one-touch cross into the box. With pressure from Fiona Recene, the Tanner goalie got caught in the middle before Purcell hit a lefty shot into the right side netting.
It ended up being the game-winner as Woburn finally converterd on one of their corners just a few minutes later.
Wakefield’s attack did a good job of keeping the pressure up and the defense battled their way to an impressive win.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Warriors host one of the best teams in the Middlesex League, Winchester, today at 6 p.m. Winchester is 9-1-2 on the season. They were ranked 5th in Div. 1 in the first power rankings.
“I’m proud of the results of these last few games but we know that there is still a big part of the season left and we have a lot of unfinished business and goals to accomplish,” said Martin.