ATTLEBORO, Mass - North Attleboro rallied from a goal down in the final 20 minutes to secure a 2-1 victory on the road at Attleboro to retain the Blue Red Cup.
The Rocketeers (11-4-2) created the best chances throughout, but found themselves trailing 14 minutes into the second half to an Erin Woodhead bullet from 30 yards out. It was only the Bombardiers (6-11-1) second shot on goal in the game.
The goal seemed to rattle North for a few minutes and Attleboro had its best spell of pressure in the game, although it struggled to create any clear cut chances. The Bombardiers pressure lasted fewer than 10 minutes before North were back on level terms.
Senior captain Jamie Grinavic’s cross was deflected into the path of Katherine McGwin, who hit the ball first time on a half-volley into the bottom corner past the outstretched arm of keeper Beth Clifton. North continued to press for the winner and, just two minutes from time, they found it.
Junior defender Laura Patruno swung in a corner that swerved past the fingertips of Clifton and directly into the net for an “Olimpico.” The goals by McGwin and Patruno were the first of the season for either player.
North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace, whose team has qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2007, was disappointed that his team gave up the opening goal, but thrilled at the Rocketeers reaction and comeback.
“From a tournament perspective, that’s the kind of game we want to play. We don’t want to fall behind and give up the first goal, but at least we know that we won’t panic and change our style.”
In addition to the Blue-Red Cup, the game was also senior night for the Bombardiers and to mark the occasion senior midfielder Makayla Medeiros was able to start the game and get one kick before being subbed out. Medeiros has suffered three ACL tears in her high school career and had not played this season.
Coach Steve Santos spoke after the game about the respect he has for Medeiros, “There was no better way to kind of appreciate what she’s done. She could have hung them up and not been here, but she’s been at practice every day and she comes out to the games and cheers us on. She’s like my assistant coach, she’s my right-hand woman.”
North Attleboro had far more possession in the opening half as Attleboro soaked up pressure and looked to hit on the break, through balls over the top to Woodhead. Brooke Maher had North’s best shot but was robbed by Clifton, who finished the game with 7 saves.
Attleboro was tenacious defensively, in particular Abigail Oliver who earned the MVP plaque and a handshake from Wallace following the game. Midfielders Brianna Laplume and Lily Medeiros were also effective in screening the back four.
North were led by senior Jamie Grinavic, who thought that she had put the Rocketeers ahead with six minutes to go only to have the goal called back for a very tight offsides decision. Right-sided midfielder Nicole Chretien was outstanding and provided a constant outlet and numerous dangerous crosses into the box before suffering a foot injury in the final 10 minutes.
Grinavic is confident that the Rocketeers have a great chance to be a threat in the postseason.
“We’ve been practicing so hard. We’re really coming together as a team and I think that’s going to help us go really, really far in the postseason and I’m so excited to go further.”
Attleboro did not qualify for the postseason, but has been competitive all year long in the very deep Hockomock League. Santos spoke of his pride at the effort his team gave all season.
“They played their hearts out, but unfortunately sometimes the ball bounces against you in soccer. It’s one bad bounce from losing the game and unfortunately we were on the wrong side. We hustled hard, we fought hard, we never quit and there’s nothing more you can ask for as a coach.”
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