By John Anderson
When the final horn blew on Thursday afternoon, the Rockets beat the Warriors 2-1, and they clinched a perfect season: 18 wins, 0 losses and 0 ties. Playoffs could begin as early as Wednesday, and the MIAA seeding will be determined on Monday. This was not a great game for the Auburn team, but it was enough.
At their Senior Game, Tantasqua came out fighting and scored just over one minute in when Katie Dobos shot past keeper Abby Lucas. Auburn Coach Bethann Cormier credits the Warrior’s fast forwards who kept the pressure on all game. The Rocket defense, however, limited their opponent to only 4 shots on net. Tantasqua spent considerable time at the Auburn end, but they were held to the single goal and 4 corners. Lucas recorded 3 saves.
With 16:46 left in the first, Carly Zona scored with an assist by Jamie McNamara. At 14:12, McNamara would score unassisted to put the Rockets ahead. Jamie also led her team with 7 shots on net and Auburn had a total of 17. They also had 9 corners. Tantasqua goalie Nikki DiGregorio had 7 saves.
Although this match was on natural grass, Coach Cormier said it was a decent field and “faster than most grass”. No grass is as flat and fast as artificial turf like that at Auburn High, and fortunately all playoff games are on turf. It was obvious that the ball performs very differently on these very different surfaces. The number of missed ball contacts by the Rockets was surprising.
Coach Cormier admitted, “We didn’t have the best of games” and added this was the first “all wins season” for her as a coach. She was thrilled but gave all the credit to her players, especially the seniors. Coach
Cormier, Chair of the English Dept. at AHS and National Honor Society Advisor, said all the seniors are leaders and are smart. “It takes a certain kid to play this game. Players have many things to pay attention to.” When one hears all the referee whistles, this is true.
Speaking to a group of players after the game, several commonalities emerged. With the huge importance this game had, some probably let Tantasqua get into their heads. Senior Day didn’t help, and neither did the grass field. That being said, these girls are skilled, competent, and committed. Good luck in the playoffs. You deserve many more wins.