After suffering its first – and so far only – loss of the 2014 campaign to the still-unbeaten Exeter contingent on Sept. 16, coach Derek Dane’s Londonderry High girls’ soccer team rebounded with a pair of slim but noteworthy wins.
The Lady Lancers wound up having their hands full with a winless but pesky Merrimack High contingent at LHS on Tuesday, Sept. 23. But when the final whistle sounded, Dane’s crew had a 2-0 win to celebrate.
The victory made the host team 5-1 on the 2014 campaign, while Merrimack slipped to 0-6-1, having scored just five goals in its seven matches.
Laurel Goding handed the hosts a 1-0 lead with what proved to be the game-winning goal (from Alli Nelson) during the 34th minute of the first half.
Goding then added an insurance tally during the second half (from Sarah Desmarais), but that marker didn’t come until a mere two minutes remained in the contest.
Londonderry thumped 16 shots on Merrimack goalie Keara Venne, and LHS net-minder Jackie Luckhardt had to turn aside 12 scoring attempts by the Lady Tomahawks in helping her squad to the shutout.
In the much-anticipated Saturday, Sept. 27 Mack Plaque match with the Pinkerton Academy Lady Astros at LHS, one defensive error wound up being fatal for the academy crew in a hard-fought, 1-0 loss to its host.
The 6-1 Londonderry crew snared the only goal it would end up needing to win the Mack match with 28:36 left in the first half of play when a turnover in the Pinkerton defensive zone wound up on the dangerous foot of LHS all-state standout Emily Crocetti, who hammered a shot home.
The Astros smacked 16 shots toward LHS goalie Luckhardt – with 10 right on her – and the Londonderry High keeper managed to keep all of them from getting behind her. PA net-minder Sammy Mitchell was also credited with 10 stops.
The now 7-2 academy team had the better field position in the first half, with a few solid scoring chances going for naught. At the half the Lady Astros found themselves with a 1-0 deficit on the scoreboard but a 6-2 advantage where shots on net were concerned.
Londonderry wound up enjoying the better field position through much of the second half, with Pinkerton pressing hard during the final five minutes as time ebbed away. PA coach Steve Gundrum even elected to replace keeper Mitchell in net and put her in a field position in an attempt to bag the tying tally. But that goal never came for the visitors.
“We have come a long way in the last few weeks. We learned a lot about ourselves in our loss to Exeter,” said Dane. “Today we were fantastic at possessing the ball and controlling the tempo of the game. Early in the game they made one mistake defensively and we capitalized on it. Throughout the game, we didn’t panic with the ball, especially in our half.
“We shut out a team that is averaging about three goals per game, and that’s a testament to our ability to defend as a team. Everyone worked hard and everyone was rewarded. This was a great team victory,” he said
On Thursday, Oct. 2 the LHS crew will travel to Bedford High to face the unbeaten Bulldogs.