Boston High School: Alissa Duffey

D3 girls soccer: Weston 1, Sutton 0

November, 17, 2012
WORCESTER, Mass. -— The Weston girls soccer team was victorious at Worcester’s Foley Stadium on Saturday morning, winning the Division 3 state championship behind an early second half goal from senior Maddie Linde.

Weston -- which came into the game with a record of 11-7-1, and was the No. 17 seed in the South sectional -- benefited from top-tier competition during the season. First-year coach Rich Daestrela claimed after the game that Weston’s competition in the rigorous Dual County League ultimately helped prepare the Wildcats.

“This was a long season, but when it’s your first year coaching girls, what else could you ask for?” Daestrela said, “It was an incredible ride and playing in Dual County definitely prepared us for the tournament. We outscored teams and in certain situations we actually went to penalties and won.”

The Wildcats prepared in detail for Sutton, the No. 2 seed from central Mass who came into the game at 18-3-1.

“We knew what formation we were playing," Daestrela said on the lineup changes early in the second half. "So we matched up with the formation that they were playing. Once we got that first goal I just wanted to be able to lock it down and change my formation to maintain a 1-0 lead."

The Wildcats were able to gain that 1-0 lead about eight minutes into the second half, the goal coming from the Columbia-bound senior Linde, assisted on a volley by Hannah Grace.

Goalkeeper Alissa Duffey, also a senior, put up yet another shutout for Weston, her sixth consecutive shutout. Duffey hasn’t given up a goal since the regular season, as Weston outscored their opponents 19-0 in the tournament.

After suffering from a concussion earlier in the season, Daestrela said he was impressed with Duffey’s improvement following her injury.

“She did a fantastic job, throughout the whole entire season we worked on her," he said. "She got a concussion and then got back into playing, and for the rest of the ride she got a shutout, the first game back she played she got scored on once, and after that we were able to get great goalkeeping and strong defense from our team.”

But that doesn’t mean that this shutout didn’t come with its’ own challenges. The Suzies had an equally impressive run through the central Mass. tournament and in their win over western Mass. champion Lenox. The goal by Linde was the only goal Sutton gave up over the course of the tournament, outscoring playoff opponents 15-1.

Sutton narrowly missed scoring on several occasions, including on two free kicks within 15 yards that went over the crossbar and on two headers in front of the net. In the end though, Weston’s defense held back Sutton’s vicious second half attack.

“We did it two years ago, but I don’t think anyone thought we’d be here at this point in the season," Linde said. "I’m just astounded and so proud of every single person on our team, without every single person we would not be where we are."

Weston also knocked off Sutton two years ago in the Division 3 state title game, but members of this year’s team, including Graves, were proud of the progression that the Wildcats made after coming into the season with the real possibility of not having a coach.

“Especially coming from starting the season without a coach and not having a preseason and seeing how much we developed and far we’ve come, it’s great to be here,” she said.

Girls Soccer: Weston 1, Norwell 0 (2-0 PK's)

November, 15, 2012
QUINCY, Mass. -- Entering the Division 3 North tournament as the No. 17 seed, the truth was most vociferously somewhere in between for the Weston girls' soccer team.

Entering the playoffs with a 6-7-4 record comprised mostly of a brutal schedule in the heavyweight Dual County League, the Wildcats promptly dominated the field, outscoring the opposition 23-1 in five games en route to their second North title in three seasons. Tonight, in the D3 Eastern Mass. Final against South champ Norwell, at Quincy's Veterans Memorial Field, nobody was taking anyone lightly.

In the end, after 100 minutes of scoreless play, Weston's deceitful run lives another day, as the Wildcats outlasted the Clippers in penalty kicks, 2-0, to punch their second ticket to the D3 state final in three years.

Weston will face Central/West champ Sutton, Saturday moring at Worcester's Foley Stadium.

"I'm so glad you asked that, because I don't think these girls get enough credit sometimes," Weston head coach Rich Daestrela told a reporter, when asked about the team's scheduling. "It's tremendous. Twenty-three goals to one in the tournament, I think that says alot about the schedule that we play, which is really strong Division 1 teams."

As for the round of penalties, Daestrela thought he had scouted his opponents well, and whatever efforts made in that regard seemed to pay off. Two of Norwell's attempts went over the crossbar. On the other two, goalkeeper Alissa Duffey guessed correct both times, diving to her right to stop shots low corner then top corner.

On Weston's end, Hannah Graves went waist-high to her far left in the first round of penalties, then Jackie Foody added insurance in the third round with a shot to the top corner.

"We actually both really scouted them, and knew where they were going the whole entire time," Daestrela said. "They kept the same exact order. That was a big thing for us. We went to watch the Dover-Sherborn game against Norwell [D3 South Final, a 1-0 Norwell win in PK's], so we knew where they were going for the penalty shots."

New blood, no problem: Daestrela wasn't named head coach of the Wildcats until five days before this season, and didn't have his starting lineup solidified in the first game. That storyline sounds awfully familiar to the one that unfolded in 2010, when first-year head coach James Blackwell promptly coached them to the D3 state title.

"Maybe every year, they should find a new coach, then they'd be all set," Daestrela joked.

Daestrela comes to Weston after a two-year stint at Lawrence Academy, resigning over this last offseason. This is his first foray into coaching the girls side, and says "It's been a great experience."

Channeling her inner Higuita: Tonight's game was the third straight decision by penalties for Norwell, and he most striking trait of Clippers' squad is the booming right leg of its Boston University-bound seninor goalkeeper, Bridget Conway. So booming, in fact, that she is often called upon by head coach Kara Connerty to take set-pieces for anything outside 30 yards from the goal.

That allowed for the Clippers to send another body into the 18-yard box. Many times tonight, a Conway free kick from 40 yards out landed squarely the hands of Duffey, or even sailed over the crossbar.

Weston claws its way to D-3 final

November, 18, 2010

WEYMOUTH, Mass. -- Weston head coach James Blackwell was laughed at by every member of his team and most of the town when he exclaimed that his team was going to win the state finals this year.

That bold statement came after a paltry six-win season in 2009, but now the Wildcats are one win away from that very promise.

Weston's amazing turnaround continued as the Wildcats edged Dover-Sherborn, 2-1, in the Division III state semifinals held at Weymouth High School. With the victory, Weston moves on to the state finals this Saturday at 11 a.m. to face the winner of Central champion Sutton and West champ Gateway.

Emma Dagres scored both tallies for Weston, who improved to 16-5-2 after not even reaching the state playoff tournament only a year ago. The junior striker scored goals in the 37th and 39th minutes of the game with the second goal coming seconds before the halftime whistle. The eventual game-winner was off a goal kick from sophomore Madeline Linde which beat the Raiders' defense and allowed Dagres to hit the back of the net in stride.

“We knew going up two goals would put it in the bag and even though they scored once we were able to manage," said Dagres. “(Blackwell) always stresses to be up two goals because at 1-0 a team can tie it up and make it basically 0-0 again."

The two goals came less then three minutes apart with Dagres keeping the ball on the ground to beat Dover-Sherborn netminder Jessica Goudreault twice in similar fashion as Goudreault challenged Dagres outside the box on both occasions.

The two tallies were just enough for sophomore goaltender Alissa Duffey, who found herself in a pickle in the second half with tremendous pressure coming from Dover-Sherborn crosses and corner kicks in the final six minutes of regulation. The Raiders had a chance to have both boys' and girls' soccer teams represent the school in the state finals, but the girls came up just short of the final prize despite controlling the offensive pressure for most of the second half.

After letting up a Maddie Dunn goal in the 44th minute of play, Duffey settled down and was outstanding with four huge saves down the stretch to save the one-goal win. The victory gives Weston their first trip the the state finals in 11 years.

“If it's not Emma, then it's Maddy (Linde)," said Blackwell, who is only in his first year at the helm, about his two young strikers. “It seems if one is doing the scoring, then the next game the other one steps up but this is huge for our program and yeah, they laughed at me before the season but here we are now.”