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Knight girls can't get on track against Timber Wolves

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

PROSPECT’S Abby Drouin (left) and Kingswood’s Kaitlin Vekos battle for the ball during action on Friday in Wolfeboro. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 24, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Both the Kingswood and Prospect Mountain girls' soccer teams have endured offensive struggles at points this season.

The Knights have scored just one goal on the season and the Timber Wolves were coming off a stretch of three games where they put in a total of three goals and dropped all three games.

So, when the two teams met on Friday, Sept. 21, there was a chance that those in attendance would be seeing a back and forth battle with little offense.

And for the first 15 to 20 minutes, it appeared that would be the case.

However, Prospect opened up the game with four goals in the second half of the first half and added three more goals in the second half to walk off with a 7-0 win in Wolfeboro.

"We needed that, we really did," said Prospect coach Matt Locke. "Hopefully that starts them going forward to the next game."

Kingswood assistant coach Jimmy Wales, filling in for head coach Tom Merrell, noted he was pleased with the way his team fought hard against the Timber Wolves.

"I think the other team got frustrated," he said.

Kingswood actually took the ball in the offensive zone first, but couldn't get off any shots. The Timber Wolves returned the favor by coming right back down the field and getting a number of great chances, including three corner kicks. On the first corner kick, Abby Drouin found Abbey McMahon, who drilled a shot off the post and the rebound was stopped by Kingswood keeper Alejandra Beaudet. On the third corner, Shelby Stone had a shot stopped by the Kingswood defense.

Becca Tinkham, Michaela McIntyre, McMahon and Drouin all had good scoring bids, though Beaudet made a couple of great saves to keep the game scoreless. Kingswood also got good defense from Nicole Westfall to help out.

Kathryn McGinnis just missed connections with McMahon and Drouin had another shot saved by Beaudet as the Timber Wolves continued to pressure the net. Dani Fitzpatrick chipped in with strong defense for the Knights.

Finally, just more than 15 minutes in, the Timber Wolves got on the board, as Mcginnis made a great pass to McMahon, who buried the ball past Beaudet for a 1-0 lead.

Kingswood's Molly Sawyer had a good offensive look, but the Prospect defense clamped down and didn't allow her to get in on keeper Shannon Meyer.

About 10 minutes after the first goal, McGinnis found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead and after shots by Moriah Marston and McGinnis went wide, another went off the crossbar and came down to Beaudet.

With about 10 minutes to go, Ally Cleary launched a shot from outside the box that sailed to the top shelf, just over Beaudet's fingertips for a 3-0 lead.

Lexi Brown turned on the defense for the Timber Wolves on another scoring chance by Sawyer and Beaudet stopped another chance from Cleary.

Prospect pushed the lead to 4-0 with about five minutes to go, as Hailey Kelley delivered a great shot from the top of the box that glanced off Beaudet's fingertips and into the net.

Good defense from Kingswood's Kaitlin Vekos and Prospect's Ella Montminy helped close out the first half with the Timber Wolves up by a 4-0 score.

The second half featured a change of goaltenders on both sides, as Beaudet had to leave the goal with a hand injury and Tana Meyer took her place. Cleary moved to the goal for the Timber Wolves.

Kingswood had the best early chances, as Vekos hit Sawyer on a scoring bid, but she was stopped by Cleary. At the other end, McIntyre fired a shot off the post, and Tinkham's rebound soared high of the net.

Meyer made a couple of solid saves and Corrina Chasse made some strong defensive plays for the Knights as they worked to stay in the game. Fitzpatrick also chipped in with good defense for the Knights.

Kingswood had a corner kick chance sail wide and also had a direct kick from Chasse stopped by Cleary.

About 18 minutes into the second half, Tinkham buried a shot off the far post and into the net for a 5-0 lead.

Brown, Meyer and Drouin all had chances in close, but Meyer and the defensive work of Randi Talbot and Chasse helped shut down the attack.

Sawyer and Caitlin Giguere went in on net for the Knights, only to see Montminy step up on defense to shut down the chance.

Prospect kept pressuring, with McGinnis, Marston and Sydney McIntyre getting looks, but it was Kali Gadomski who netted the next goal with about 13 minutes to go, as she sent a shot that glanced off Meyer's hands and into the net for the 6-0 lead. Gadomski took a nice feed from Sydney McIntyre with about eight minutes to go to round out the scoring and Prospect took the 7-0 win.

"We passed the ball well," Locke said. "It was a good night for the girls, I'm glad they got the win.

"Hopefully you can build on that," he added.

The Prospect coach also credited Kingswood with a hard-played game from the start.

Wales praised the work of both his goalies, particularly Meyer, who basically stepped into the job on an emergency basis and handled herself well.

Earlier in the week, the Knights played host to Plymouth and dropped a 7-0 decision to the Bobcats.

"The team is continuing to show improvement as the season progresses," Merrell said.

As an example, the Knights surrendered just three goals in the first half, it's best defensive showing of the season, as Beaudet played well in the Knight net.

Next up for the Knights is a trip to Meredith for a game with Inter-Lakes on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 4 p.m.

The Timber Wolves opened the week with a 3-2 loss at Inter-Lakes and will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. at White Mountains Regional. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the girls head to Campbell for a 4 p.m. contest.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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