By John Anderson
The Auburn girls tied Grafton 1-1 in the season opener for varsity soccer. The Rockets hit the field with their typically strong defense and regularly stripped the ball from the Grafton offense during the half. While Auburn controlled the game, they kicked too many long balls beyond the reach of the forwards and reduced their scoring opportunities.
In the second half, Grafton came out hard while Auburn looked lackluster in defense. Most balls were safely propelled from the Auburn end, but at 33:32, Grafton’s Hazel Wood took a strong shot from the right corner and scored. Less than a minute later Sym Brothers took a direct kick from 30 yards out that went above goalie’s hands. The score remained 1-1 for the rest of the match. Grafton had 10 fouls to Auburn’s 5, and this free kick found its mark.
Coach Larry Midura observed that Sym’s goal took the momentum away from Grafton and gave Auburn renewed energy. With 3 minutes left, Auburn Goalie Sarah Fahey had a spectacular save on a breakaway. She had 7 saves on the night. The Rockets had 12 shots on net to Grafton’s 8.
After the game Coach Midura said of his team, “We’re young, very young.” A look at their 19-player roster confirms it: 4 seniors, 4 juniors, 7 sophomores, and 4 freshmen. Asked if this was a building year for girls soccer, Coach Midura responded it was a building game. He expects adjustments will be made by the time they play Pittsfield on Saturday.