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D4 GIRLS’ SOCCER FINAL: EAST BRIDGEWATER 4, MONSON 3

Lofstrom lifts East Bridgewater to D4 soccer crown

ETHAN SCHROEDER

The East Bridgewater girls’ soccer team won its second Division 4 title in three years.

By Ethan Schroeder Globe Correspondent 

MILFORD — In a spirited second half in which all seven goals were scored, senior midfielder Sarah Lofstrom’s last-minute toe-poke delivered East Bridgewater its second Division 4 girls’ soccer state championship in three years with a 4-3 win over Monson at Milford High Saturday evening.

The matchup was the third consecutive Division 4 title meeting between East Bridgewater (22-1-1) and Monson (22-1-0).

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East Bridgewater was victorious in 2014 and Monson took home the hardware in 2015.

Lofstrom opened things up in the 43rd minute with the first of her three goals.

Running alongside senior forward Mackenzie Vlachos, Lofstrom flicked in a give-and-go past Monson substitute goalkeeper Bryanna Murphy. The senior was forced to come on after a collision sidelined starter Hannah Garon for the better part of the game.

“No one’s surprised that [Sarah] and [Mackenzie] were able to find each other often,” East Bridgewater Vikings coach Brendon Boates said. “All of the seniors have consistently worked well together this year.”

Monson answered five minutes later. Junior Marley Nissenbaum set up junior Lily Fabian on a pristine through ball and to the right side of the box, allowing her to slot it home. The Mustangs took 2-1 lead in the 55th minute when senior Cassidy Bailey curled a corner kick up over the outstretched hands of East Bridgewater goalie Madison Lydon for the unassisted score.

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East Bridgewater refused to heed any further advantage, responding with back-to-back goals in the 60th and 69th minutes from Lofstrom and sophomore defender Kirsten Smith, respectively.

“These games get super emotional, and if you get too up or down, no matter what it is, nothing good comes of it,” Boates said. “Even when we went ahead, I told the girls to relax. When you start to get excited, that’s when problems can happen.”

Continuing with the rapid scoring that had paced the half thus far, Monson knotted things up, 3-3, a minute later. Garon resumed play in goal after Smith’s score for East Bridgewater, with Murphy returning to the midfield. After the Mustangs drew a penalty kick on the next possession, it was Murphy who stepped up and drove home the tying goal.

Monson appeared headed for its third straight OT, but Loftstrom followed up a bid by Vlachos with under a minute to play, netting her third goal to give East Bridgewatwer the title.

“The ball just rolled away suddenly, and I knew there was nothing stopping me from getting there,” Lofstrom said.

“Our team showed a lot of heart and we knew we weren’t going to leave this field without a win.”