By John Anderson
Tuesday’s semifinal against Quaboag was another thriller as overtime was needed for Auburn to win, 2-1. Twenty minutes into the first half, Kileigh Hynes secured the ball in front of the Cougar net and fired in the Rocket’s first goal. Play was tenacious throughout the game, and both teams subdued many attacks before they got too close to the net.
With 13:13 left on the clock in the second half, Quaboag’s Carly Duff shot into the net and struck Jess Clifford in the chest. Clifford said, “The ball dropped. Abby and I both tried to get it, but it was too late. It was over the line.” Although both teams had opportunities during regulation, no goals were forthcoming.
With 8:39 left in the 15-minute overtime, Clifford got a breakaway and moved quickly towards the net. In 7v7 overtime, resistance was light, so she passed the ball to Jackie Clark who was 1-on-1 with goalie Mikaela Gresty.
Clark shot hard and accurate, and the Rockets had their second overtime victory in 3 days.
Clark told Auburn Mass Daily, “I saw Jess coming up, and she passed. There’s a lot more room when it’s 7-on-7, and it’s easier to move the ball.” Coach Bethann Cormier said, “When you play a good team twice, it’s hard to beat them twice.” Goalie Abby Lucas had 4 saves during the game.
Game time for the final against #7 Lunenburg (14-3-3) will be at 4:00pm on Friday in Grafton. Lunenburg upset #2 Monty Tech and also defeated North Brookfield and Nipmuc to get to the final. On the other hand, Lunenburg had a light schedule during their regular season with no D1 competitors. In the only common opponent with Auburn, Lunenburg tied and then lost to Oakmont, 1-0. The Rockets defeated Oakmont, 2-1.
The Auburn Rockets are now 21-0. Let’s keep this going!