WORCESTER — The Division 3 girls’ soccer state championship between Weston and Sutton at Foley Stadium was a familiar scene. The Wildcats trumped the Suzies two years ago in the championship game. On Saturday, Sutton was looking for redemption.
The championship ended the same, with Weston defeating Sutton, 1-0.
“We [won the championship] two years ago,” captain Maddie Linde said. “But I don’t think anyone thought that we’d be here this season. I’m just astounded and so proud of every single person on my team.”
None of the Wildcats could have predicted they would even be in the championship, considering they didn’t have a coach until preseason.
“It’s been a long way,” coach Rich Daestrela said. “They challenged me at the beginning to find out if I was knowledgeable. Once they had a little bit of faith in me I think we started building and adjusting to other teams in the Dual County. It really paid off in the tournament.”
Weston (12-7-4) scored eight minutes into the second half. After a scoreless first half, Weston wanted to try something new.
After a pretty assist from captain Hannah Graves from the right side of the field, Linde redirected the ball into the left corner of the goal.
“We’ve practiced it before,” Graves said. “Maddie runs across and I just chip it to her, and today, she was able to get it in on that.”
Weston’s defense played a huge role. Although Sutton (17-3-1) often had possession of the ball in the Wildcats’ end, senior defenders Deniz Cataltepe and Sarah Peters redirected most of the Suzies’ shot attempts.
“We had to just keep adjusting formations,” Daestrela said. “Once we were up 1-0, I just wanted to lock it down and change our formation to maintain our lead.”
Sutton junior midfielders Monica Hall and Michelle Saillant and freshman Paige Vigliotta had quality shots, but none beat senior Alissa Duffey.
Her best save was a block on sophomore Michaela O’Laughlin’s powerful shot with just 30 seconds left.
“Alissa Duffey deserves all the credit,” Linde said. “She let us win and saved us in two penalty kicks on our journey here and she did outstanding today, she didn’t let anything go [past her.]”
After what Daestrela labeled a long and challenging season, the Wildcats are thrilled with their second state title in three seasons.
“Two years ago it was a brand new coach and they won,” Daestrela said. “I joke that they should do that every year; get a new coach and go to the championships.”