Boston High School: Emily Grotz
November, 15, 2011
By Tom Layman | ESPNBoston.com
WEYMOUTH, Mass. — It was apparent how much attention Peabody’s Hayley Dowd was going to get from the Oliver Ames' defense once the clock started to tick in the Div. 1 state semi-finals last night at Weymouth High.
For the majority of the game, the Tigers battered, bruised and smothered Dowd with a number of defense players and defensive looks to keep her off the scoreboard.
Sometimes great players just find ways to make their presence felt.
Dowd notched the game-tying goal and played a big part in Victoria Digiacomo’s game-winning goal in the first overtime as Peabody (21-0-2) advanced to the state finals with a 2-1 victory over Oliver Ames (17-3-3).
“When I have my chances I try to take it, and I think that’s what we did tonight,” said Dowd. “They are a good, tough team and it was one of the better teams we played this year. They were very physical.”
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead on the foot of Kristina Simonson in the 28th minute off a feed from Emily Grotz.
Dowd got her opportunity to finally break free of coverage early in the second half when she potted the game-tying goal in the 44 th minute for the Tanners.
Digiacomo and Dowd worked well up front against the Tigers back line with several scoring opportunities, but a little bit of over anxiousness saw those plays whistled for offside infractions.
In the opening minutes of the first extra session, the combo connected when Dowd sent a shot on goal and somehow it got through the Tigers defense to the waiting foot of Digiacomo to end the game 2:33 into the period.
“I’ve had a copule of those this year where I just see the net and I’m like ‘you aren’t going to score if you don’t get it on net,’” said Dowd. “I figured I’d get the ball on net and see what happens. Victoria made a great run into the net to get there right before the goalie.”
Added Digiacomo: “It squirted through and then it was me and the goalie. I got one step ahead of her and I poked it in. I didn’t even see it go in until she was on the ground.”
There was a game within the game on the pitch last night with Dowd and Tigers’ defender Clarissa Romero. The Tigers’ coaches had Romero stay with Dowd every step of the way, and in some instances bodies were flying all over the field in an intense, physical one-on-one matchup.
“She was outsanding,” Tigers coach Britt Sellmayer said of Romero’s effort. “She’ playing with a fractured nose and to go toe-to-toe with the premier player in Massachusetts, she did a great job.”
Dowd, who was taken to the turf on several occasions on rushes towards the net, said she was happy to play physical and she welcomed the challenge from a tough-minded Tigers’ back line.
“We played physical and we were going back-and-forth,” said Dowd. “I’m not mad at her and she’s not mad at me. That’s the way it is.”
November, 13, 2011
By Tom Layman | ESPNBoston.com
TAUNTON, Mass. — Emily Grotz did a little bit of everything on the soccer field to help Oliver Ames advance to the Div. 1 state semifinal in a 3-2 victory over Whitman-Hanson last night in the South sectional final at Taunton High.
Grotz scored two goals and showed off her versatility as she played three different positions as the Tigers still have a shot at winning a fourth state championship title.
“She plays everywhere,” said Tigers head coach Britt Sellmayer, whose team is now 17-2-3 this season. “She’s a four-year varsity player and she’s so fast. She’s technical and can strike the ball with both feet and she was our MVP today, so thanks to her.”
The multi-dimensional Grotz was unable to shake free at the beginning of the game from her attacking forward position, but made a difference when Sellmayer backed her up a bit to the midfield.
Grotz corralled an attempted clearing attempt by a Panthers’ defender on a corner and sent a drive towards the far post into an empty net for the 1-0 lead at 16:30 of the first half.
“We weren’t getting goal-line and we score most of our goals from crossing,” Grotz said of the switch to midfield. “I just saw the hours of practice that we put in practicing corner kicks and I was just there to shoot and it went in.”
The Tigers kept possession for most of the first half with the wind at their back and Grotz made sure to take advantage of that positioning. With a shade over seven minutes remaining in the game, Grotz gained possession with a single defender on the right side of the field.
She made a move towards the right corner, but stopped on a dime and cut to the middle to shake free of her defender. Grotz was able to strike a left-footed drive into the back of the net from the top of the box to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
“I just decided to cut-in and I saw a good portion of the net,” Grotz said. “I have a pretty good left foot and I used it.”
Whitman-Hanson (16-4-2) came out with a better effort in the second half and netted two goals to the Tigers one in the second half, and in the most important moments of the match Grotz was lined up in the defensive end shadowing some of the Panthers better goal scorers.
“She got the two goals for us, but in the second half I felt there most skilled player who was causing problems was Cassie Chernicki. So we took Emily and put her on [Chernicki] and that kind of slowed them attacking on the left side.”
As mentioned, the Panthers did make things interesting with a penalty kick goal from Mackenzie Hatfield at 33:21 of the second half.
Michaela Simoneau got the lead back to 3-1 for the Tigers at 19:35, and Hatfield knocked in a ball in traffic with four minutes remaining in the game to give the Panthers a chance at a win with the clock winding down.
“We’ve gone 19 straight games without a loss and this was the 20 th and we happened to lose,” said Panthers’ head coach David Floeck. “We were hoping to get by, but we should have no shame in the way we played.”