Mashpee Girls' Soccer Earns A Spot In The State Tournament
By: Rich Maclone, October 25, 2013
Normally, regardless of the outcome of the game, a ride home from Hull is pretty quiet. It’s a long trip from the outer edges of the South Shore back to Mashpee High School. Typically, heads are locked on cell phone screens, others fade off for a nap and maybe even a little homework gets done.
On Tuesday night, though, the scene could not have been any different for the Mashpee High School girls’ soccer team. The Falcons were dancing in the aisles, deservedly so, with music playing and voices booming.
The Mashpee High girls’ soccer team had qualified for the MIAA state tournament.
With midfielder Rachel Bridges netting a hat trick for the squad, Mashpee accomplished its main goal for the season of getting into the postseason after back-to-back seasons that ended in disappointment.
Each of the past two years, Mashpee came close to getting in. They came painfully close, missing by a single point each year.
Head Coach Catherine Sullivan, who is in her fourth season as the team’s skipper, breathed a sigh of relief as she recalled the victory that put her team where it wanted to go. “It feels really good, it’s the first time we’ve gone in a long time, and they earned it,” the coach said.
Sullivan said that the girls’ trip to the postseason is the first by a Mashpee girls’ team in seven years. Making it all the more impressive is that the team was able to do the job with hardly a backup to be found on the roster.
Over the course of the season, the team has adopted the nickname, “The Dirty Dozen.” An official lineup on the soccer field needs 11 players out on the pitch. Mashpee has that many, plus one backup. An emphasis has been put on conditioning, and playing through minor injuries.
“We might only have 12, but we definitely have a lot of talent. That 12 is just so talented and one benefit of having such a small crew is that it isn’t big enough to have any cliques,” the coach said. “They have a team dynamic that is just awesome. I’ve never had players with more heart.”
The Dirty Dozen jumped out to an early lead about 20 minutes into the game against the Pirates, using their favorite weapon in their offensive arsenal to get on the board. That weapon is the throw-ins of Jackie Lynch, whose flip-throw delivery regularly puts the ball right on the doorstep of the other team’s goal. Lynch lofted one out front, and Bridges headed it home for a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Pirates rallied back to tie the score on a Mashpee defensive breakdown, midway through the first half, but they weren’t tied for long. Bridges ran onto a long lead ball by Lainey Lavigne and scored on a breakaway a few moments later to make it a 2-1 game. She then caromed another header into the net, off of a Lynch flip throw, in the second half for some insurance.
“(Bridges) has been really solid using her head all season, and Jackie puts the ball out front so well. That’s worked really well for us,” Sullivan said.