Hingham’s Leahy uses speed on pitchJulia Leahy pulled the curtain on her track career upon her graduation from Hingham High a little over a year ago, but she is still putting her training to work on the soccer pitch at Trinity College.
A former middle-distance runner at Hingham, Leahy starts at outside back for the Bantams, holding down the “marathon position,” according to Trinity coach Michael Smith.
“Julia is very fit and has great stamina and can get up and down the field all day long,” he said. “Julia has played almost every minute of every game. She is a tremendous competitor, has a great attacking mentality, and technically she is very solid, so she is the perfect player for that spot.”
Leahy’s speed and versatility was on display Saturday when she assisted on Trinity’s first goal in a 2-1 New England Small College Athletic Conference quarterfinal playoff victory over Amherst. The Bantams (12-3), who had never advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs, will face Williams (11-2-2) in the NESCAC semis Saturday at host Middlebury.
The 5-foot-4 sophomore sent a cross from the right side to set up Karyn Barrett with the game-tying goal in the first half, her first assist of the season. Although Leahy’s role is primarily focusing on defense, she runs the field and is capable of sparking the attack.
This season, Leahy has three shots on goal, scoring twice; her first career goal came in a 4-1 victory over Albertus Magnus in September. Her second tally came during a 4-1 win over Connecticut College two weeks ago.
“Playing outside back is definitely different but with our formation, as an outside back I get to play some forward and be involved with the offense,” said Leahy, a captain and two-time team MVP at Hingham, where she played forward.
“It’s definitely a lot of work and a lot of running, but I don’t mind. I’m used to running a lot.”
Leahy, who earned a spot on the Division 3 squad last season as a walk-on, broke into the lineup midway through the season last year and has started all 15 games this year. Her older sister Lizzy, also a team MVP at Hingham High (2008, 2009) is a senior soccer player at Holy Cross but has battled injuries the last two seasons.
“We talk about trying to attack with eight players in, and in all honesty, all of them, including Julia, are capable of scoring goals,” said Smith. “As an outside back Julia makes a lot of overlapping runs and supports the attack from behind at times, but she is certainly an integral part of our attack, as that assist on Saturday showed.”
Laura Nee, a freshman from Duxbury, made an immediate impact with the Bantams. An attacking midfielder, Nee has one goal and three assists. Her first collegiate tally came three games into the season when she netted the game-winner in a 2-0 victory against Williams that snapped a 17-game losing streak against the Ephs dating back to 1996.
“Normally you like to allow freshmen to ease their way in but Laura has earned her way into her starting role,” said Smith. “She has a great attacking mindset and is very skillful on the ball.”
Three from area boost Trinity squad
Tom Haverty hopes to end his college football career on a high note on Saturday when Trinity (5-2) hosts undefeated Wesleyan (7-0) in a key NESCAC matchup.
Haverty, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker from Marion who starred at Old Rochester High, will probably start his final collegiate game at inside linebacker. After moving from the outside backer spot because of a rash of injuries, he posted 39 tackles, the third-highest total on the team, with one sack, four tackles for lost yardage, and one interception that he returned 36 yards. He is also a fixture on special teams.
“Tom is just real passionate about the game,” said Trinity coach Jeff Devanney. “It’s been difficult for him to switch positions, but Tom is a very smart football player and he’s done well with it.”
Trinity won its first five games before dropping its last two by a total of four points, including Saturday’s 17-16 setback at Amherst. Also contributing to the Trinity attack is junior offensive lineman Jake Golden (Hingham) and sophomore offensive tackle William Lynner (Cohasset). Golden (6-1, 290 pounds) has been banged up but starts for the Bantams when he is healthy. Lynner (6-2, 270 pounds), a team captain and MVP at Cohasset High, transferred to Trinity after spending his freshman season at Sacred Heart University. He starts at tackle.
John R. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.