In a playoff game each play is magnified, and when something goes wrong it can be the difference between winning and losing.
The Mashpee High School girls’ soccer team played a near-perfect game on Monday, November 9, at Carver High School. The Falcons probably played their best overall contest of the year, but one play that did not go their way was the difference in a 1-0 loss to the Crusaders on a foggy evening over the bridge.
“A breakdown in communication, a wet, bad bounce. It was a breakdown in communication,” coach Julienne McCuish said.
The breakdown came between the Mashpee defense and goalie Jayden Bryant. A kick out of the midfield from Carver defender Gemma Tibbetts was sent high into the air and came down at a severe angle. Bryant hesitated coming out on the ball because she thought the defense would play it. The defense thought the opposite, and gave the keeper room to operate. Bryant realized that she would have to make the play and hustled to come out to catch the ball, but the descent to the ground was faster than her legs.
As the ball hit the ground, it skipped high in the air and over Bryant’s head. The goalie retreated to try to get to it before it crossed the goal line, but could not get there in time. The goal by Tibbetts came in the 53rd minute, about midway through the third quarter.
The way Mashpee played, it seemed like giving up one goal would not matter that much because the Falcons were winning the better share of the 50-50 balls and had plenty of scoring chances. Their problem was that they weren’t able to capitalize on them.
Ava DeSimone was a force for the Falcons in the first half. She pushed the left side of the field and had a number of quality chances. Her best chance came in the second quarter on an indirect kick that just missed the near corner, hitting just outside the goal. Emily Theodore had a couple of chances herself, both in the second half. Early in the fourth quarter she put a shot on the net from just outside the box, with the keeper prone, but the defense made her rush the bid and it missed the mark. In the closing minutes, from 20 yards away, Theodore put a liner on net that threaded a needle to get through the defense, but was swallowed up by the Carver keeper.
“They had the chances; unfortunately it has been a struggle with the finishing this year, and the scores show that,” coach McCuish said. “I’m proud of them. They work hard and I thought that they were going to pull it off, but it didn’t go our way....They definitely didn’t give up. They kept knocking and they didn’t give up on it, but we just couldn’t come back from that deficit and couldn’t find the back of the net, unfortunately.”
Coach McCuish said her departing seniors were inspirational this year. Despite going winless for the season, the Falcons kept their heads up and played hard in every game. She singled out the entire senior class and said they will be missed.
“I couldn’t speak more highly of them, the captains Brooke (Johnston) and Caroline (Shields), Emily Theodore, (goalie) Abby Dorman—she wasn’t able to play because she had an ankle injury—Abby Thompson in the back, and Emma Holmes....They definitely have led. They worked hard all summer to prepare for the season and I’m grateful they had a season,” the coach said.