Since the East Boston girls’ soccer team lost to Brighton in last year’s Boston City League championship, it came into the season looking for revenge — and it was sweet. The third-place Jets beat first-place Latin Academy, 1-0, Thursday afternoon to capture their first title since 2006.
“We’re nervous, but excited,” said East Boston coach Richard La Cara before the game. “We’ve made it to the finals a couple times, but haven’t won in six years. We’re relying on our defense and goalie.”
As soon as the Jets took the field, it was clear that La Cara had nothing to be worried about. From the opening whistle his team pushed the ball to Latin Academy’s end of the field.
Most of the first half served as a tug-of-war between the teams, each exhibiting strong defense.
Then speedy freshman forward Mariah Roberts stepped in. After a long run with the ball and Latin Academy’s defense failing to keep up, she scored into the lower left corner of the net in the 25th minute.
“I felt relieved when I scored the first goal,” said Roberts. “I was so happy. I thought they would come back but we just communicated, worked together, and had great defense.”
Since Roberts scored a first-half goal, it gave the Dragons time to come back.
Senior forward Virginia McCaughey, senior midfielder Tianna Johnson, and even junior defender Jillian Eweka all had great shots on goal, but none were successful, mainly because of the Jets’ outstanding keeper, sophomore Brittany Brancato.
“We just couldn’t score,” said Latin Academy coach Nick Kamberidis. “They played excellent defense and buried our chances. Hats off to [East Boston,] they deserve it.”
Despite getting a bucket of water dumped on his head in the chilly weather after the win, La Cara still looked as if he was in disbelief.
“When we started in August,” he said, “I never thought this would have happened. With Latin Academy and New Mission in the league, we knew the season would be very difficult. But I just have a great group of girls, and today we avenged our loss.”
East Boston and Latin Academy will move forward to the MIAA state tournament Saturday.
East Boston will take on Westford at East Boston Stadium at 3 p.m., and Latin Academy will face Bishop Fenwick at Reservation Road in Hyde Park at 2 p.m.