There was no question that something had to give for the Londonderry High Lady Lancers’ soccer team as it headed into its Tuesday, Oct. 14, home match with the winless Manchester Memorial Lady Crusaders.
Coach Derek Dane’s LHS crew had gone completely scoreless in its previous three matches – with two of those games ending in scoreless ties – and was further troubled by the absence of star forward Emily Crocetti, who was nursing an ankle injury.
Crocetti returned for the Memorial match and made her presence known in a big way, potting three straight goals as Londonderry raced out to a commanding 4-0 lead by halftime. And in the end, the host team handed its guest a 6-0 walloping.
Crocetti buried shots in the 19th, 23rd, and 30th minutes to hand her side a 3-0 advantage, and freshman Erin Barnes followed suit on a set-up by Laurel Goding in minute 34 to make it a 4-0 contest before halftime arrived.
The Goding/Barnes tandem switched places 21 minutes into the second period – with Barnes nabbing the assist – and Haley Laliberte was set up by MacKenzie Donovan on the final goal of the day with just two minutes left to go.
The hosts hammered 23 shots on the Memorial net, while Londonderry keeper Jackie Luckhardt contributed 11 stops to the winning performance.
The Lady Lancers then faced an even tougher challenge against an 8-4-1 Nashua North team in the Gate City on Friday, Oct. 17. And it took double-overtime for the Londonderry bunch – which has had limited success in overtime matches this fall – to walk away victorious.
After regulation time and one overtime had been played with nobody scoring, the Lady Lancers had their season record improve to 9-2-2 when Goding was set up by Gretchen McGrath in the 93rd minute of play.
Luckhardt made nine saves in the LHS net, and Dane was left happy.
“We finally won a game in OT, and it was a good game, too,” said Dane. “North had the better of possession in the first half and out-shot us 5-2. Jackie made one very good save to keep it even. We came out in the second half and picked up the intensity and work rate. We completely dominated the second half. We closed them down in the middle of the field and played wide quickly. We created numerous chances and out-shot them 8-3 in the second half.”
But still, both teams were left hunting for the winning goal. And the Lady Lancers finally found it in the second overtime.
“We played out of the back and freed Gretchen (McGrath), our left back. She ran 40 yards with the ball, into their goal area, played a ball across the face of the goal, and Laurel beat their goalie to it,” said Dane.
The Lancer bunch, which will likely finish fourth, fifth, or sixth, headed into this week slated to play three matches, with that busy run starting Monday with a road trip to Dover.
In that contest, Dane’s crew stepped into a battle with a Green Wave group that has had an extremely rough 2014 season. The hosts began the game holding a 2-11-1 record, but the Dover bunch gave the Lady Lancers a tough time before eventually falling by a 2-0 tally.
The match was scoreless at halftime, but Erin Barnes netted what would prove to be the winning goal a mere four minutes into the second half on an assist from Goding.
Goding also set up Crocetti 14 minutes after that for an insurance goal, and the victorious locals ended up putting 11 shots on the Dover net. LHS keeper Luckhardt wound up contributing four saves to the shutout win.