HUDSON -- As the high school girls' soccer regular season begins to wind down, the playoff scenario chatter begins to pick up. Worst-case scenario for the Crusaders was to tie the Hawks.
The best case was to pick up a win and get three points in the standings. Groton-Dunstable's girls' soccer team did just that when they blew past the Hawks 4-0 in a physical Thursday night match at the Morgan Bowl.
Groton-Dunstable controlled possession at mid-field for the better part of the first half. The Crusaders consistently brought two defenders to the ball, creating headaches for the Hudson attackers.
"I thought the girls moved the ball well tonight and created a lot of opportunities, and they finished on those opportunities. I was pleased with their play," said head coach Steven Naboicheck.
The tenacious play of the Crusaders in their offensive third led to Brittany Belanger finding the back of the net off of a setup by Jen Johnson in the 29th minute to give Groton-Dunstable a 1-0 advantage.
Hudson would try desperately to get back in the match, but were turned away by the Crusaders' stalwart defense.
Naboicheck was pleased with how Johnson created opportunities in the win. "She has speed and a nose for the goal. She has great skills," said Naboicheck. "I love that second assist she had. It was just a great combination play with Brittany (Belanger)."
Groton-Dunstable's back line is made up of a young group of defenders in Bethany Fordham, Katie Wogan at stopper, and Meg Freiter. The Crusaders defense did a great job staying composed in their defensive third when the Hawks went on the attack.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Hydro turned in the best chance of the night for Hudson. Hydro launched a laser towards the left side of the net, but Groton-Dunstable keeper Elizabeth Rekos was up to the challenge. Rekos turned Hydro away with less than five minutes left to go before the half.
The Crusaders cashed in again before the first half whistle sounded. Johnson knifed through the Hawks' defense, causing the Hudson keeper to come off of her line, and she made her pay. Groton-Dunstable led 2-0 with three minutes left to play in the half.
Belanger found the back of the net again with 28:45 left in the second half. Johnson picked up her second assist of the match when she hit Belanger on a low-lying cross into the 18 yard box to give the Crusaders a 3-0 cushion.
As the old saying goes, once you score, the goal just seems to get wider. Midfielder Nicki Wilkinson rippled the mesh off a brilliant pass by Elena Biasi with just two minutes left in the match. The goal by Wilkinson was one for good measure, as the Crusaders took the match by a final of 4-0.
Rekos finished with seven saves in the win.
"Right now it is all about focus, intensity and desire. We have a shot at making at the playoffs, and we're very excited about that. The season is going very, very well."