Sunday November 16, 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY
NEPSAC Play-offs – Final
Hamden Hall 1 MacDuffie 2 OT
The unbelievable continues to happen, and now the ultimate stage – the New England Championship Game. With a large crowd of MacDuffie supporters in attendance at the Williston-Northampton fields, the Mustangs took to the field to challenge #1 seed, and another 3-time Champion, Hamden Hall from Connecticut. Just twenty-four hours after a physically grueling and mentally (and emotionally) draining win at Dexter-Southfield, our (mostly) young team arrived in great spirit and amazingly relaxed. They were here to enjoy every moment. But, if there is one thing we have learned this season about these girls, it is that they do not understand, or accept, losing. But their opponents today were a well respected, talented and physical team. MacDuffie went right to work from the whistle, stroking the ball around the field. Still enjoying the lion share of possession, but Hamden Hall did not allow MacDuffie the total dominance we have experienced throughout the season. This was a final, the prize is bigger than the performance, but the Mustangs were going to win this playing soccer. After 24 mins Ania Ludkiewicz picked up the ball in midfield, went past her marker to lift a ball into the danger area where a race between the defender, goalkeeper and Maddie Levesque ensued. Usually there is only one winner, and yes that was Maddie. Without an ounce of fear at the prospect of a collision, Maddie neatly passed the ball into the now vacant net. One-nil. The exchanges were becoming more intense with each passing moment. Early in the second half, Maddie was through again, but this time the keeper came and took her down, which prevented Maddie from repeating her earlier score. To many people’s disbelief, the referee did not award a penalty. In the 25th minute of the second half, Hamden Hall were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the box, and they scored with a wonderful strike to the roof of the net. With the game tied at one each, the game went into overtime. Was this too much to ask of the Mustangs, having been through the same ordeal a day earlier? Yes of course it was, but they just do not stop until the job was done. They came to win. Three minutes into the second period of overtime the dream became reality. The reliable Ala Legowski received a pass in midfield, opened up to face the defender, and threaded an inch perfect pass into the path of the advancing Mia Levesque. With the goalkeeper charging at her, Mia struck the ball firmly, and to the screams of ecstasy, the ball nestled into the corner of the net. With a long seven minutes to go, the Mustangs searched even deeper to play out the game and achieve that ultimate goal. 16 games, 16 wins, and never once were they behind from the first kick of the season in September, to the refs final whistle on Championship Sunday.
Saturday November 15, 2014
NEPSAC Play-offs – Semi-Final
Dexter-Southfield 2 MacDuffie 2 (MacDuffie win 4-2 on penalty kicks)
The Mustang Girls’ soccer season is not yet over!! On a blustery Boston suburb hill, MacDuffie faced 3-time NEPSAC Champions Dexter-Southfield. With field-side banners reminding everybody of Dexter-Southfield’s reputation of being crowned New England Champions in 2010, 2011, and 2012, the Mustangs knew that they would have to be at their best to get a result. With the wind at their back, MacDuffie started strong, dominating both the possession and territory. Maddie Levesque made the break-through after 21 mins. Good work on the right from Ava Marion resulted in a cross that crept behind the defenders to Maddie, who passed the ball into the net. Four minutes later, on virtually an identical play, this time Ala Legowski dribbled her way into the box before squaring to Maddie, who again calmly passed the ball beyond the goalkeepers dive. MacDuffie were growing from strength to strength, but were unable to add to their advantage before half-time. On a day when the wind was likely to be an influence, MacDuffie had to work hard to protect their precious lead against a strong physical Dexter-Southfield team – and wind. As a team they defended courageously, but on 65 minutes the height advantage of the Dexter-Southfield team paid off when they scored on a header from a corner. MacDuffie continued to play hard, occasionally breaking into the opponents half. With 10 minutes remaining, a through ball found Mia racing towards the goal, but her shot could not beat the impressive host goalkeeper. With less than 2 minutes remaining in the game, Dexter-Southfield got their equalizer. As a result, the teams had to fight through another 20 minutes of overtime. With no further goals, the teams prepared themselves nervously for penalty kicks. MacDuffie’s kickers, in order were Ania, Talia, Emilee, Ala, and Ryleigh. With the score at 3-2 to MacDuffie’s advantage, goalkeeper Ryleigh stepped up to secure the win with a perfect shot to the corner. Next stop, Sunday’s Final at the Williston-Northampton School.