BOLTON - The Lady Patriots' chances at reaching districts hinged on the result of Thursday's match with Nashoba. Nashoba's defense held the ladies from North Middlesex shot-less in the second half.
The Lady Chieftains outshot North Middlesex 17-4 in the match. With the 4-0 loss, North Middlesex's shot at a postseason berth went up in smoke.
"They are a tough team to deal with," said North Middlesex head coach Charlie Valacer. "They (Nashoba) are very good sports about it. They were subbing in 11 players in at a time. She made them control possession for the remainder of the game."
North Middlesex's scoring chances were limited to the first half of play and were predominately taken by sophomore striker Shalee Callahan. In the seventh minute, Callahan blazed past the Nashoba sweeper and made a run down in the corner.
Callahan was able to deflect the ball off the foot of a Lady Chieftains' player near the end line, which resulted in a corner kick. On the corner, North Middlesex was unable to cash in. Callahan blasted her shot, but it went directly at the mitts of Nashoba goalkeeper Ashley Spellman.
Nashoba kept the ball down on its side of the pitch for the better part of the first half. Nashoba senior captain, Emily Kuefler, crossed the ball to Carrie Cheung in the fifth minute.
Cheung chipped her shot from about 20-yards out, but North Middlesex senior goalkeeper, Julia Murray, was able to leap up and make the save.
The chances continued to mount for Nashoba.
The crossbar would rob another Nashoba attacker of a goal, yet again, in the 14th minute. This time, Kylie Lance's shot from outside the penalty area clanged thunderously off the top-right pipe.
Nashoba would eventually break through the tough, gritty, North Middlesex backline at 31:04 of the first half. Jillian Winer hooked a meandering cross into the penalty area, where it met the right foot of Cari GIlian.
GIlian was able to blast the shot into the low right corner off the volley, to make it 1-0 in favor of the hosts.
That is where the score would stand heading into the second half. Nashoba head coach Pam Vaughan emptied her bench in the second half and instructed her team to play a more possession-based offense.
North Middlesex had no answer for the crisp passing Lady Chieftains' attackers. Nashoba's Sarah Clopeck netted a low-lying shot inside the left post past the diving attempt by Murray to extend the Lady Chieftains' lead to 2-0 in the 48th minute.
Nashoba narrowly reaped the benefits of a handball by a North Middlesex defender in the penalty area. Kuefler lined up for the penalty shot, but she was denied by the post.
Clopeck cashed in again in the 68th minute with a blast in the top right portion of the net to put the game out of reach. Cheung netted the game's final tally in the 75th minute.
"I think the defense played really tight in the first half, and then they (Nashoba) went up 1-0 at halftime," Valacer said. "It is good for our girls to face a tough team. Hopefully, we can better our record down the stretch against three tough teams. "