Lauren Berman and her teammates on the Canton High girls’ soccer team are on track for a repeat as the Davenport Division champions in the Hockomock League. Their final regular season home game is Tuesday against Foxborough.
Saying goodbye to Memorial Field will be bittersweet for the University of Maryland-bound senior striker and her classmates.
A lot has changed since the days Berman played the game in the basement with her older siblings.
She has netted 122 career goals — 32 this season — despite the fact she is the focus of every opposing team’s defense.
In Tuesday’s rematch against Oliver Ames, a 1-0 win, Berman was often taking on three, and on occasion four, defenders when she had possession of the ball. She is used to being the target, acknowledging that it is a result of all the hard work she has put into the game during the last decade, whether she is playing for Canton High or suiting up up for her club team, the Scorpions.
This past summer Berman and her U17 Scorpion teammates advanced to the national tournament in Chicago; she also traveled with the U19 squad to the US Youth championships in South Carolina. The Scorpions reached the final before losing in a shootout (2-1) to the Clay County Soccer Club of Florida.
She also enjoys running, which helps build up her speed and keep her in shape during the offseason. Her passion for running inspired her to join the track team the spring of her sophomore year. She went out and captured the Division 3 state title in the mile. However, because of a bout with bursitis in her hip, along with a muscle tear, she was unable to run or play basketball last year. She said she will be excited to get back on the court this winter.
Berman’s participation with a number of teams, however, has not distracted her from her personal goals. Scoring 100 career goals became a focus after watching one of her role models, Amy Caldwell , reach the mark as a senior at Braintree High before she went on to star at Boston College. She is the younger sister of Steve Caldwell, Berman’s coach with the Scorpions.
“I remember watching Amy play and thinking I’m going to do that,” said Berman.
Berman reached her milestone in the first meeting against Oliver Ames, a 7-0 win on Sept. 20, and is currently pacing the Hockomock in scoring with 32 goals and nine assists.
Her Bulldog teammates are supportive of her success, and are fueled buy her accomplishments.
“We all try to play off her,” said sophomore starter Hailee Duserick . “We try to strive to be as good as her.”
Kim McNally , a junior starter for the Bulldogs, played on the Scorpions U16 team last year and has watched Berman excel year-round.
“She’s a role model to all of us and it’s been really great to play with her,” said McNally. “She gets the team pumped up and she’s always willing to help us. She motivates us.”
The Bulldogs are driven by last year’s 1-0 loss to Auburn in the Division 2 state final, a defeat they did not see coming.
“We want revenge and want to go back and win it over again to prove that that should have been us,” said Berman. “We should have won that game.”
Entering Friday’s match against Sharon, Canton was 11-1-1, despite graduating a number of key players from last year’s squad, including Kensey Waterman , who is currently playing for Siena College.
Along with returning to the state tourney, Berman is focusing on preparing for Division 1 college soccer.
“I’m harder on myself about staying in shape and making sure I’m healthy and keeping up with doing the right things,” said Berman. “I’m really hard on myself.”
Berman’s self-discipline is a trait that will only better her performance as she continues to hone her skills.
Canton coach Paul Turner describes her as one of the hardest-working players he has worked with. He said he sees the transition to college soccer a rather easy one for the tenacious 5-foot-3, 120-pound Berman.
“I think she’ll do very well,” said Turner.
“I think it would be a massive step up [in competition] for her. Physically, she’s going to have to deal with a lot of strong, big, athletic players. She has the mentality, the determination, and the talent to go in there and make an impact. I think even as a freshman, she should do well.”
Berman’s farewell to her teammates and coach will not be easy, but the impact she has left on her team will resonate after the season’s end.
“We couldn’t be luckier to have someone like Lauren Berman on our team,” said senior captain Jessie Brooks .
“She’s a great player and great role model. Even when she was younger everyone looked up to her. In my opinion she’s the best player in the league. She makes everyone of us a better player.”
Quincy boys team dealt more hardship
The Quincy High boys’ soccer team dealt with hardship even before the season began, with the accidental drowning of Lamar Thompson last summer. Now, the Presidents, 6-6-3 through their first 15 games, are dealing with the tragic loss of senior midfielder Bai Kanu, who was profiled in this column earlier this season.
On the night of Oct. 2, he was riding his bike home from a friend’s house when he was hit by a car and dragged roughly 30 feet.
A native of Sierra Leone, Kanu sustained a traumatic brain injury and has experienced swelling on the right side of his brain. Hospitalized in the ICU at Boston Medical Center, he has begun to move his fingers and toes sporadically.
James Abundis , a junior centerback, is also out for the season after suffering a concussion, which was followed by two seizures. Abundis is attending school and tests are still being done to pinpoint the cause of his recent seizures.
Resende-Verge steps in at Weymouth
The Weymouth High boys’ soccer team kicked off the season minus senior Scott Greenwood , a Globe All-Scholastic goalkeeper who is unable to play because of the new directive from US Soccer that any player affiliated with an academy program is unable to also play for his high school team.
In his absence, Lucas Resende-Verge has stepped forward, allowing just seven goals while recording eight shutouts. With 11 seniors, Weymouth is 12-1-3 overall (9-1-3 Bay State Carey), one point behind Needham in the division race.