Blues Earn CCWSL Championship
By: Rich Maclone
When the championship trophy is named after a fallen teammate, there’s a little extra motivation that accompanies playing in a title game. Former Mashpee Blue Rhiannon McCuish, who died in a fire at Boston University in 2007, had the Cape Cod Women’s Soccer League championship trophy named after her a few years back, and bringing that marker of excellence back home to Mashpee was something that Head Coach Kevin Radford and his club desperately wanted.
“We wanted to bring it back home,” Radford said. “That Rhiannon McCuish trophy is special.”
Last Thursday night the Blues gave an effort that would have made the former Blue quite proud. Mashpee came out with determination and gave one of their best efforts of the year in the biggest game of the season, against a team that had not suffered a loss all season long. Until that night at least.
With a superb second half effort, Mashpee managed to win more of the little scrums along the way, which added up to the big victory that they wanted. With two second half goals, including a huge one in the final minutes, Mashpee prevailed over Plymouth, 3-1, to win their fourth Cape Cod Women’s Soccer League championship. Mashpee’s other three titles came during a three-year run of excellence from 2007 to 2009. Falmouth, which was bounced by Plymouth in the semifinals, had won the previous two titles.
“We had the team that had played together most of the season, and they wanted it more,” Coach Radford said.
Striker Alexa Yow was a big difference maker for the Blues. Yow saw her role expanded quite a bit over the last few weeks after leading scorer Ellery Gould departed to attend the Olympics and Isabella Miranda went down with a season-ending injury. Yow picked up the slack big-time late in the year, and that culminated with a huge performance in the championship game as she came through with a pair of bookend goals in the game for the Blues.
Yow put the Blues ahead in the 14th minute of action to break the ice. The striker was able to get free for a breakaway and shelved a shot to the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead.
The score stood at 1-0 in Mashpee’s favor at the intermission, but things certainly got interesting in the second half of the action. Plymouth scored its only goal of the game just seconds into the second half, knotting the score at 1-all, but the tie did not last very long at all.
Just a minute after Plymouth scored, Mashpee struck right back to take the lead again. This time the goal came off of a free kick by Aurianna Franco that she chipped high and to the far post for Madi Lawson, who put it in to put Mashpee permanently on top.
“Our play up front was strong all around. Having (Yow) and Lawson was a good combination, with Liz Manganella and Lily Peterson, we had a good feeling out there,” Radford said.
Mashpee’s midfield prevented Plymouth from making a comeback by locking things down between the 18s. Radford complimented the play of the entire midfield, especially Kenna Garrison, Ashley Berg and fullbacks Allison Cassiles, Franco and Caitly Sewall. In the net Kathryn Hoar had a very good game, including a pair of big-time saves in the second half to keep Plymouth from tying things up.
The drama of the back-and-forth action was finally put to rest late, with about five minutes to go. Yow finished off a cross from Allana Francis to put the game out of reach for Mashpee.
“It was really a fantastic match. Team on team, it was a great matchup. There was some physical stuff, both teams wanted it, it was a war out there,” Radford said.
In the end, Mashpee’s second half salvo was too much for Plymouth to handle and the Blues left with the banner.
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