Each team scored once in the first half en route to a 1-1 tie in a Division I girls’ soccer matchup between Pilgrim and Prout on Monday afternoon.
After Prout jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first half on a goal from Kseniya Farrell, the Pats were able to knot the score before the half was up on a goal from junior McKenna Leahy. The Pilgrim captain leads the team in goals (9), assists (2) and points (11), and is tied for sixth in the state in points.
“She has a lot of leadership on the team, she’s been promoted to captain,” Pilgrim head coach Tom Flanders said of Leahy. “Her ability is fantastic, and to have her there day in and day out in practice, for our younger players to go against her every day is only going to help them improve. She adds a scoring punch and complements our other players well.”
A couple of early chances for Leahy fell by the wayside, as she was able to get a couple shots on net, albeit the defense pressured her and she couldn’t get much behind the shots.
Prout was on the attack early, as well. Emma Slade got behind the defense roughly 10 minutes in, but Pilgrim goalkeeper Madison Dowling raced out of her net and stopped Slade’s chance to keep the game scoreless at that point.
However, 10 minutes later, Slade pressured once again, and Dowling was able to stop the initial chance, but Farrell was there to kick the ball into a vacant goal to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
But, it didn’t take long for the Pats to answer. Freshman Lily Brown won a loose ball in the middle of the field and advanced the ball to Leahy, who blasted a shot into the lower left corner of the goal to tie the score at 1.
“That was very positive,” Flanders said of his team’s response. “As a young team, we’re still trying to figure things out. For them to figure out how to get out of a 1-0 deficit was nice to see as a coach.”
Those would be the only goals of the game, as both teams had ample time to pot a game-winner in the second half and a pair of overtimes, but neither team could get a shot past the goalkeepers.
Allison Perry made six stops in net for Prout, while Dowling, a junior, stopped seven shots in goal to earn a point for her squad.
“She’s just getting over being sick, and that was a real test for her,” Flanders said of Dowling being in net against Prout. “She was tested early, and she had a tremendous performance. She was focused and had the proper mindset to stay in that game.”
Pilgrim (1-4-2) will get another good test tonight when it travels to take on defending state champion Portsmouth (5-2) at 7 p.m.
“We’re looking to go down there and give them a challenge,” Flanders said of the upcoming matchup against Portsmouth. “We’re going to go there and play our game.”