KINGSWOOD’S MOLLY SAWYER pushes the ball forward in front of Prospect Mountain’s Lexi Brown. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
August 27, 2012ALTON — With both teams rebuilding, the opening day matchup between the Kingswood and Prospect Mountain girls' soccer teams on Aug. 24 was going to be a test for each team, a way to see where each squad stood as the new season began.
For coach Tom Merrell's Knights, it was also the first time the team was even on the field in a game situation, as a planned scrimmage earlier in the week was cancelled.
The Timber Wolves scored early and didn't look back and rolled to an 8-0 win over the Knights in Alton.
The hosts needed just a minute and a half to get on the scoreboard, as Abby Drouin made a strong cross to Kathryn McGinnis for a 1-0 lead.
The Timber Wolves added to that tally just more than a minute later, as great passing from Sydney McIntyre and McGinnis led to a 2-0.
The Timber Wolves continued pressuring against the Kingswood defense and goalie Abbie Dempsey. Jones had a shot sail high of the net, while McGinnis and Kali Gadomski had great chances as well. Corrina Chasse chipped in with good defense for the Knights and Dempsey made a couple of fantastic saves, including one kick save.
Becca TInkham and Jones continued the pressure for the Timber Wolves and Dempsey made another big save, but it was McGinnis who added to the score, as she pushed home a pass from Drouin to push the lead to 3-0 with 27:40 to go in the first half.
Gadomski, Jones, Abbey McMahon and Moriah Marston also had bids for the Timber Wolves as the hosts kept the ball in the offensive zone for a good chunk of the first half.
Kingswood's Alejandra Beaudet had a nice clear to keep the ball away from Dempsey at one point, but with just under 19 minutes to play in the half, Michaela McIntyre launched a long shot from outside the box and it snuck past Dempsey and into the net for a 4-0 lead.
The lead pushed to 5-0 with just more than 15 minutes to play, as Sydney McIntyre buried a nice shot to the corner.
Becky Conditt Derosier replaced Dempsey in the Kingswood net with 12 minutes to play in the half and kept the Timber Wolves quiet for the next five minutes, but Marston beat the defense with 6:42 to go and pushed the lead to 6-0.
Prospect goalie Shannon Meyer had a pretty easy first half, making her first save of the half in the final minutes on a direct kick from Molly Sawyer, sending the two teams to the break with the Timber Wolves well in control of their northern neighbors, 6-0.
The hosts came out in the second half and worked on the passing game, moving the ball back and forth across the field. The Knights were able to generate a little offensive attack, as Julia Miller and Sawyer moved the ball into the zone, but couldn't get anything on Meyer.
With 27:50 to go in the game, Gadomski popped home Prospect's seventh goal of the game.
Good defense from Chasse and a save by Conditt-Derosier on a shot from Sydney McIntyre were good moments for the Knights, but with 17:30 to go, Michaela McIntyre scored her second goal of the game, again on a long shot, upping the lead to 8-0.
Ally Cleary took over in goal for the Timber Wolves for the final 17 minutes and was called on to make one save, while Conditt-Derosier also made a save in the final minutes.
"We'll chalk that up to a learning experience," Merrell said. "We were hoping to have a scrimmage, but this is the first time the team has been in a game."
Merrell also noted that he was missing a few of his upperclassmen, which made things a bit more difficult. Additionally, with just four subs and some injuries coming in, Merrell dealt with a short bench all day.
"We didn't know how it was going to be, we knew they lost a lot," Prospect coach Matt Locke said. "But that was a good start."
He noted that working on the passing game was a key component of the second half and though he didn't see everything he wanted to see from that part of the game, he was pleased that his team was able to work on the little things early in the season.
"I hope that we speed everything up," Locke said of his team moving forward. "It's a fast game and we have to play that way."
Locke's squad was moving on to play a solid Raymond side in the second week and he noted the Timber Wolves will have to adjust their game.
"They were a tough team last year and we struggled against them," he said.
Merrell, who's girls had to face Gilford in the season's second game after deadline Monday, wasn't discouraged by his team's tough schedule out of the gate.
"I prefer we start with the tough teams," he said. "We need to pick up our intensity and beat them to the ball."
Kingswood will be in action on Friday, Aug. 31, at 2 p.m. at Belmont and will head to Plymouth for a 4 p.m. game on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
The Timber Wolves will be in action at Somersworth on Friday, Aug. 31, and will be at Belmont on Tuesday, Sept. 4, with both games at 4 p.m.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126