LYNN, Mass. -- Canton's Lady Bulldogs were a little unsettled about playing in Wednesday's Eastern Massachusetts state semifinal.
But junior midfielder Lauren Berman put those nerves to rest with a well-placed shot three minutes into the match, and the Lady Bulldogs never looked back, winning comfortably 3-0 over Newburyport.
“The girls on the bus were more nervous than I’d ever seen them,” Canton head coach Paul Turner said. “The first goal really settled us down, and then we started playing.”
Canton got on the score sheet inside the first three minutes thanks to a lovely shot from Berman. She curled a left footed shot from the top of the box into the top right hand corner for the opening score.
"We were nervous coming into the team room today, we were all jittery and didn’t know what to expect,” admitted Berman after the victory.
Her goal gave Canton the confidence to play their game, and they doubled their lead in the 27th minute. Meg Lennon powered her way through the Newburyport box and had a few kind deflections but made sure with the finish, low far post, for a 2-nil lead.
Canton (19-1-2) almost finished the game off before halftime, but Kenseny Waterman's free kick from 23 yards out rattled off the crossbar and the Lady Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Waterman controlled the midfield in the second half second for Canton, stuffing out any attack the Newburyport Clippers were building.
“What we try not to do is get into a ping pong game, we try to put the ball down and I though Kensey did that really well,” said Turner of his defensive midfielder. “Kensey put her foot on the ball and got our outside backs playing, and the best way to defend is to keep the ball.”
Newburyport (17-3-3) did have a chance to pull one back with under ten minutes to go, but Liza Twomey’s shot hit the post. Berman, who is committed to Maryland, added her second of the match in the 76th minute, and the Bulldogs rolled on for a 3-0 victory.
Canton will travel to Worcester on Saturday to play Auburn (20-0-1) for the division two State Championship.