GROTON -- Due to SAT testing at both Groton-Dunstable and Bromfield, the two teams opted to move the game under the lights Saturday night. The host Lady Crusaders blanked the visitors from neighboring Harvard, 3-0, on a windy, brisk evening.
For the Lady Trojans, all was not lost. The result can be used as a learning experience for the young Bromfield side.
"I thought we learned some stuff and made some changes during the game," Bromfield head coach B.J. Pessia said. "I was pretty happy with some of the adjustments we made. Two of their (Groton-Dunstable) goals were pretty nice. It was because our people didn't man-mark and the ball came back from the 18 to them, and they shot it in."
Early in the first stanza, it was a back-and-forth match as Groton-Dunstable tried to take away Bromfield weapon Rylee Osgood. Osgood had a pair of strong runs in the Lady Trojans' attacking third, but they didn't amount to much. Stellar defense by Brianna Considine and company helped keep the talented Bromfield striker at bay.
Bromfield set-piece specialist Lizzie Rooney blasted a booming ball into the 18-yard box in the ninth minute, but no one was home. Groton-Dunstable defended the sweeping cross with ease and cleared the ball out of danger.
Stalwart play at the midfield by Groton-Dunstable's Vicky Prescott and Elena Biasi caused fits for the Bromfield attack.
However, the ladies from Bromfield would not back down quietly. Five minutes later, Osgood dribbled the ball down the center of the pitch toward goal. Osgood then pulled up and lofted a meandering chip shot toward the top left post, but Groton-Dunstable goalkeeper Elysa Briggs climbed the ladder to make a sensational save.
The Lady Crusaders netted an insurance goal in the 23rd minute, when Olivia Rubeski beat Fitzsimmons with a stutter-step, chip-shot from outside the 18-yard box. Sydney Volpe was credited with the assist on the play for her beautiful through-ball.
Groton-Dunstable carried the play well into the latter minutes of the first half, but the Bromfield defense was able to hold its ground and mitigate the damage to 2-0.
In the second half, Groton-Dunstable was not satisfied with two goals; it wanted more. Prescott netted her second goal of the match on a finesse shot from outside the 18-yard box. Prescott lifted her shot from the left hash and kissed the crossbar in the 63rd minute to extend the Lady Crusaders' lead to 3-0.
Bromfield tried desperately to claw its way back in the game through its strong corner kick game, but the Groton-Dunstable defense proved too tough.
Bromfield led the Lady Crusaders in corner kicks, 6-3, but the young Lady Trojans were unable to get anything going offensively. The stingy play of Considine, Danielle Johnson, Marielle Beyh, Sydney Volpe and Marianna Murphy on the Lady Crusaders' back line helped stymie the Bromfield attack.
"When we are playing offense our kids are so young that they don't come off defense," Pessia said. "They don't recover well on offense. They (G-D) were compressing their defense. Our outside defender, Sofia Catalina provides pressure. By the end of the game, I had her at the midfield. She is one of the only kids who goes to the ball aggressively and wins it."