Lydia Runnels approached the keeper’s box to take the seventh penalty kick for Danvers in Saturday’s Division 2 state championship at Fitchburg State University’s Elliot Field.
At the referee’s whistle, the senior midfielder lurched forward, approaching the ball head-on. With a quick curl of her left foot, Runnels twisted a shot past the outstretched hands of Medway junior keeper Samantha Murray, and the Falcons claimed their first state title in program history, 3-2, in penalty kicks.
“This group’s really special,” coach Jim Hinchion said. “We wanted this for us, but we also wanted it for everyone who’s put on the Blue and White jersey.”
Scoring occurred early and often. Medway freshman forward Heather Scheid struck first with an opening tap-in, but Danvers (19-2-1) netted the equalizer only a minute later, senior forward Hannah Lejeune slotting home a rebound off her own penalty kick.
Medway (17-3-2) once again claimed the advantage in the 34th minute, the product of a bending free kick from senior midfielder Abigail Murphy.
However, the Falcons’ persistence would not be denied, despite trailing well into the final minutes of regulation. Danvers’s fast-break attack continued to threaten, and paid off when sophomore Abby Cash set up a successful Riley Baker one-timer in the 76th minute.
Wachusett 2, Westford 1 — For 103 minutes at Fitchburg State University, Westford Academy locked horns with Wachusett Regional through two halves of regulation and two overtime periods.
In the end it was two set-piece connections between Wachusett sisters Trish and Monica Pallotta that ended the Grey Ghosts’ run for a first state title in program history. Trish, a junior, served up a 30-yard free kick in the 57th minute and a corner kick in the second overtime, both of which Monica, a senior, converted to bring Wachusett its first state championship since 2001.
The Mountaineers (19-0-4) came back from a 1-0 deficit after Westford (17-2-2) struck first just two minutes after the halftime intermission.
The scorer was none other than senior Katherine Pawlak — who scored the winners in Westford’s Division 1 North final and the state semifinal. This time, Pawlak managed to get a foot on a shot that was initially saved by Wachusett keeper Emma Hickey.
Sutton 4, Archbishop Williams 1 — Defensive cogs Naomi Falkenberg (senior goalie) and Bridgette Donovan (junior center back) exited in the first half with injuries, but the Suzies (21-1-2) rallied behind three second-half goals from senior Kate Evangeline at Worcester State for their second state title in four years, and eighth overall, but first in D3.
Senior winger Sarah Hicks scored 10 minutes into the game and Evangeline extended the margin in the second half before senior Chigozie Sumani scored the lone goal for the Bishops (20-2-2) in the closing moments.
“We gave them a couple opportunities and they capitalized on them,” said Archies coach Gordie McClay. “It kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”
Millis 1, Millbury 0 — The Mohawks capitalized on their opportunity at Worcester State to capture the school’s second state title — and first since 2009.
Millis (17-2-2) took the lead less than a minute into the second half. Freshman midfielder Jordyn Ferrantino hit the crossbar on a thunderous shot from 30 yards and senior forward Kaylee Francis pounced on the loose ball at the right post, banging home the winner.
Central champ Millbury (13-5-5) nearly netted the equalizer in the 65th minute. Jennifer Diamond hit the crossbar from 30 yards, but no Woolies could get a foot on the rebound before it was scooped up by Millis sophomore goalie Caileen Adams.Matt MacCormack reported from Worcester State.