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Defense stands tall as Natick shuts out Bishop Feehan to win Division 1 girls’ soccer state title

Natick players rejoiced after shutting out Bishop Feehan to win the Division 1 girls' soccer state championship.Glenn Osmundson

Kira Henderson put her head down and sprinted toward the box, knowing she had to be in the right place at the right time to collect the cross from Natick teammate Megan Mela.

What happened next was a blur for the junior. Henderson gathered the feed on her right foot, fired a strike into the bottom left corner, and jumped around with her hands in the air as her 20th-minute tally was all top-seeded Natick needed to cap a dominant season with a 2-0 win over Bishop Feehan in Saturday’s Division 1 girls’ soccer state championship game at Walpole High.

It was Natick’s second title in three years after the Redhawks captured the 2021 trophy with a 3-2 win over Hingham in Hanson.


“I was going crazy,” said Henderson. “It was a lot to take in, especially in the state final. It felt amazing to score the first goal and help the team win. It was a lot of pressure but I’m glad it happened.”

Natick (21-1-1) doubled its lead in the 30th minute. Kendall Hacker sent a booming corner into the box, where Cassidy Moriarty rose above the crowd and headed a shot into the top left corner. Entering Saturday, second-seeded Feehan (20-1-1) had conceded five goals all season and no opponent had scored twice in a game. Natick did so in 10 minutes.

“One of our goals was to come out of the gate and get a goal early,” said Natick coach Dave Wainwright. “Kira doesn’t score a lot of goals as a defender. This was the biggest one for her and she saved it for the biggest moment.”

With a two-goal lead, Natick’s stellar defense did the rest. All-American Kaitlyn LeBrun led a dominant defensive effort as the Redhawks never let Feehan muster a clean look on net, save for a 69th-minute tally by Ava Graham that was wiped off for offsides.


Natick finished with a 71-9 goal differential, knocking off the state’s top teams all season.

“We had versatility, depth, commitment, and talent,” said Wainwright. “All the great things, great teams have, we had the ingredients top to bottom.”

Division 2 State

Notre Dame (Hingham) 1, Mansfield 0 — Sydney Comeau views it as the final piece of her high school career.

When the Notre Dame (Hingham) senior captain finally found an inch of space in the box late in the second half, muscle memory kicked in. And as her left-footed strike bounced into the far corner, all Comeau wanted to do was celebrate with her team.

It was the lone goal for the fourth-seeded Cougars over No. 6 Mansfield in the Division 2 championship game at Manning Field in Lynn, NDA’s second state title and first since 2013.

“There’s literally nothing that feels better than that moment,” said the Holy Cross-bound Comeau. “I couldn’t ask for a better ending to my high school career, and I think these past few weeks have just been the icing on the cake for my entire four years.”

In a game devoid of high-quality scoring chances, the All-New England selection found limited space in the first half. As the game opened up after the break, the Cougars (16-6-3) built momentum and forced Mansfield goalie Olivia Clang to make a few good saves. But with less than 10 minutes to play, a cross from the left wing deflected into Comeau’s path, and she buried it.


“We didn’t have a ton of shots, but she’s a superstar and she makes the chances happen,” Notre Dame coach Kelly Turner said of Comeau.

Senior Emilia DePonte recorded the shutout for the Cougars as the back line in front of her — anchored by Caroline Sacco and Lola Griffin — limited the Hornets (17-4-1) to one shot on target.

“They are the heart of our team,” Comeau said. “We cannot do it without them. We count on them so much . . . I think we’re so, so grateful to have them on our team.”

Division 3 State

Norwell 1, Hanover 0 — The offensive pressure never relented. Each time Hanover attempted to clear the ball from its third of the field, Norwell’s second layer hemmed it in.

Freshman Mairin Blake intercepted a pass, drove down the left side, and hurled a left-footed cross into the box. Sophomore Anja Johnson got her foot on it and parlayed it into the right corner.

Johnson’s tally was the winner for fourth-seeded Norwell over No. 3 Hanover in the at Scituate High School. The Clippers (23-1-1) upended the defending-champion Hawks (21-1-1) and avenged their only defeat, a 1-0 loss on Sept. 8.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Johnson. “I didn’t really see it go in, but when I saw everyone cheering, that was the moment. It was one of the best moments of my life.”

The victory gave Norwell a sweep of the boys’ and girls’ titles, something the Clippers also did in 2021.


Senior captain Belle Pettit recorded her 19th shutout of the season, backstopping a defense of senior captain Smilla Spasic, junior Eden Wheeler, senior captain Audrey Loring, and Blake that surrendered eight goals all season.

“I didn’t face many shots that game because of my defense and how hard they work,” said Pettit. “We get the clean sheet and I get all the credit, but really they deserve it all.”

With their three leading scorers freshman and a host of underclassmen playing pivotal roles, the Clippers fittingly got sweatshirts with EC — for Everyone Contributes — inscribed on them.

“It’s the culture everyone contributes, everyone has a role,” said Norwell coach Kara Connerty. “These players are very unselfish. They don’t care who’s scoring. Our defense, with all the shutouts this season — we said defense wins championships. It speaks to their character, their determination, and their belief in their teammates.”

Division 4 State

Sutton 2, South Hadley 1 — Junior captain Addy Jerome netted the winner in the 68th minute as the second-seeded Suzies (17-4-2) edged No. 1 South Hadley (19-2-2) at Doyle Field in Leominster for the program’s third straight title.

Division 5 State

Monson 4, Whitinsville Christian 0 — Ciara Monaghan fired in three goals as the second-seeded Mustangs (22-0-1) rolled to the state title over the No. 1 Crusaders (20-3-0) at Doyle Field in Leominster.

Globe correspondents Mike Puzzanghera reported from Lynn and Cam Kerry from Scituate.