Lawrence celebrates seniors with win over Nottingham
LAWRENCE » For the 11 players who have been so instrumental in helping turn the Lawrence High girls soccer program around, this was the perfect way to celebrate Senior Night.
The Cardinals jumped over the .500 mark and helped improve their seeding for the upcoming Mercer County Tournament with a 5-2 win over Nottingham on Thursday night.
Sarah Berardi scored twice, while Gabby Caruso, Evelin Dapprich and Kendra Dempsey all tallied once.
“We’re so excited to turn the program around from sophomore year until now,” senior midfielder Vicky Wierzbowicz said. “We’re so proud of what we’ve done for this team and we wish the best for the program to keep going from what we’ve done.”
Nottingham (7-6) actually scored first when Giuliana Pocino converted a pass from Gia Girman, but that only served to wake up the Cardinals (7-6) as the two teams traded haymakers in the opening 40 minutes.
Berardi equalized in the 21st minute, which set off a stretch that featured five goals in the last 19 minutes of the first half. Gabby Caruso scored off a corner kick four minutes later and Evelin Dapprich made it 3-1 with 13 minutes left.
“I think the were a little antsy at the start,” Lawrence coach Emily Palombo said. “When we finally settled down and started to find feet, we were able to connect and finish our opportunities.” Wierzbowicz agreed. “We were really excited because there are so many of us and we couldn’t wait for this night,” she said. “It took us a little while to get going.”
Girman, the Northstars’ standout freshman, scored her 12th of the year in the 30th minute to make it 3-2 and Nottingham was an inch away from a tie score when Ivonne Vasquez hit the crossbar from 16 yards.
Instead, Lawrence went down and scored again when Kendra Dempsey bundled the ball over the line from Emily Mihov’s corner. When Berardi headed in her second goal early in the second half, it was the third time the Cards scored from a corner kick.
“The corners were really good today,” Wierzbowicz said. “We were getting to all the loose balls, pouncing on them and getting them in. We’re really proud of that because we’ve been working on set pieces a lot throughout this year.”
Lawrence won 12 games last season and hosted a home playoff game for the first time in a decade. Palombo is hoping that’s once again a possibility.
It would be another feather in this group of seniors’ cap.
“They have turned this program around and are extremely special to me, all 11 of them,” Palombo said. “They are amazing leaders and role models for the (younger) girls. I’m so happy that they got this and they’ll be pumped going into our last (regular season) game and MCT. We don’t want to be taken lightly and nobody is going to take us lightly.”
Nottingham (7-6) Lawrence (7-6) Goals —
Pocino, Girman (N). Berardi 2, Dapprich, Dempsey, Caruso (L). Girman (N). Mihov 2 (L). 17 (N). 14 (L).
Haas 4 (N). Hatfield 3, Wakeman 3 (L).
Assists — Shots — Saves — 2 0—2 4 1—5