The Latin Academy girls soccer team has prioritized ball movement all season long, opting for possession and pressure over quick, readable shooting. The result has been a lethal attack, leading the team to Wednesday’s Boston City League championship against O’Bryant.
Attacking early and often, the Dragons avenged last season’s sudden death loss in the title match at Boston English High, overcoming the Tigers, 3-1, to claim this year’s crown.
Latin Academy (15-4) made it onto the scoreboard only four minutes in. A cross from sophomore forward Elizabeth Frattaroli settled deep in the goalkeeper’s box, leaving senior midfielder Haley McLaughlin to slip it in for a 1-0 advantage.
“It seems that the majority of our goals this season have come off of crosses, or sliding the ball back in, and switching direction,” Latin Academy coach Kara Stafford said following the victory. “We’ve been working a lot on moving the ball around the field. It’s not most of the girls’ first choice, but it’s the most effective one.”
O’Bryant (10-7), fresh off a comeback victory in Monday’s semifinal matchup with East Boston, battled back quickly. Senior forward Anissa Baptise capitalized on slow passing in the Dragons’ defensive end with a key interception in the ninth minute. A few touches later, paired with a clinical finish from Baptise, the match was tied at one.
Latin Academy reclaimed momentum for most of the half, but found itself unable to take advantage for nearly half an hour. The breakthrough finally came in the 37th minute; another cross, this time the product of tactical dribbling from senior midfielder Jacqueline Gentis, met with the right foot of senior midfielder Rebecca Murtagh on the far-right post for an effective volley and a 2-1 lead.
The BCL South Division champions kept the press on in the second half, finally securing another brace from Frattaroli with four minutes left to play, cementing Most Valuable Player honors.
“It’s extremely gratifying, because the girls have worked really hard,” Stafford said. “It means a lot to them and myself that we’ve been able to be consistent this season, play strong the whole season, and finish strong.”
The Dragons now direct their attention to the Division 3 South sectional tournament. As the third seed, they’ll host No. 14 Weston at Boston English on Friday. O’Bryant, the section’s No. 9 seed, will travel to No. 8 Gloucester the same day for a 3 p.m. contest.Ethan Schroeder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.