South’s better half tops North
Scores three times after intermission
CAMBRIDGE — Ending the fall season with a senior showcase is always fun. Tuesday night at Cambridge-South Dorchester High, the South Bayside girls’ senior soccer all-stars finished with a win, as well.
James M. Bennett star Annabel Hofmann’s goal in the 49th minute sparked the South in the second half, and a pair of tallies by Parkside’s Ava Walter rounded out a 3-0 victory in the 26th annual Bayside Conference Senior Soccer All-Star showcase.
Despite the loss, “it’s very fun to be able to be here for this,” said Kent Island head coach Mike Leach, who led the North team. “A lot of the girls played on my travel team, too, so I’m very familiar with what the Queen Anne’s, Easton, and some of the Kent Island girls do. But it’s fun to coach the girls one last time before the season’s out.”
The teams spent almost the entire first half moving between the big boxes, combining for just four shots on goal. In addition to sturdy defense, an increasingly hard-blowing, and bitter, wind from the northwest slowed players and the ball down a bit.
“A lot of the South girls that played tonight are on my travel team, too,” Leach said. “And the South team was pretty loaded with all the travel players they had. ... Those girls are used to playing travel soccer; they had 11-12 girls, and I think we had two, three ... so that makes a lot of difference, too.”
In the 49th minute, Hofmann, named South Player of the Year by the division’s coaches, found an opening and banged one home to make it 1-0. Less than a minute later, Walter came along the right side and padded that lead with the second score of the night.
Katherine Layton, an assistant for J.M. Bennett, coached the South, in place of Clippers head coach Ed O’ Leary, who’s on vacation. The sudden surge in offense, she said, was due to a couple of changes implemented after intermission.
“We decided we really needed to work on our offense,” said Layton, who’s Hofmann’s mother. “So I pulled Ava out of the middle and replaced her with Anastasia (Parks), who’s a midfielder with Mardela, who impressed me a lot in the first half. And I put Rebecca (Lappin) from Mardela up top with Ava... and that did the trick.”
Walter’s second tally came with 21:50 remaining.
“We had a lot of girls, so
we kept everything even and equal as possible .... subbed them in and out,” said Leach, who dressed 23 players to the South’s 16. “We were missing the North Player of the Year, (Kent Island’s) Ashley (Rotert), who still hasn’t recovered from the ankle injury she suffered in the Bayside championship game. We still had a lot of firepower; we just didn’t do it tonight. But it was fun regardless.” The North had several pushes in the second half, one led by Easton’s Miranda Walton, another by North Dorchester’s Brie Bates. But each time, South keeper Armani Banks (Mardela) was there for the stop.
“It was an amazing experience to coach my daughter in this,” Layton said, “but (also) because it was such a talented group of girls. I was impressed by the talent that they all had. And they really got along great.
“From the moment they put on those T-shirts, putting them on the same team for the game, they went out and warmed up like they had been teammates for the longest time. They were giggling and laughing and talking like they had been a team from the start,” Layton added. “And when they were out playing, it was the same thing . ... Some of them have played together, in rec league or travel soccer since they were 9-10 years old, but it was really something great to see.
“To imagine that these girls were fierce rivals to work together like that when they put the shirts on, was something,” Layton said. “To finally be able to step on the pitch together and play it was just great.”