The Wilmington girls soccer team dominated scoring chances throughout its North Division 2 final tilt against Belmont. But in the end, it was the Marauders who breezed to the sectional title thanks to a wind-aided goal.
Belmont’s Corrine Ognibene lofted a shot high in the air from about 40 yards out, just hoping to put the ball on net. But with goalie Kim Woods off of her line, she slowly retreated towards the goal line before she realized the wind gave it enough of a boost that it was destined for the back of the net.
Though Woods leapt into the air to try and knock it out of harm's way, the ball soared into the left side of the net.
Ognibene’s goal gave Belmont a 1-0 edge at the 23:28 mark of the first half, and that was all the team needed to go on to a 1-0 victory at Manning Field in Lynn.
“We had every right to be here. This was kind of a tough way to go out, but it is what it is,” said Wilmington head coach Sue Hendee, whose team was playing in its first ever North final. “They know they went further than any other team, and they kind of surpassed expectations that some people had for us. I think we knew we had the potential to do really well. It was a tough loss, but a great bunch of girls, a great team.”
Other than that goal, it was Wilmington who dominated scoring opportunities throughout the tilt, knocking on the door with several golden chances.
Alex Bischoff put the pressure on all afternoon, twice getting into one-on-one situations versus Belmont’s goalie. In one of those opportunities Bischoff worked past the goalie and had an open net to work with, but her touch was just long enough that she couldn’t get to it with the ability to get a shot off.
Wilmington twice hit the right post, once coming with 12:38 left in the game when it appeared the Wildcats would have a penalty kick and an attempt to knot the score.
After Bischoff used her left foot to knock a shot off the post, the rebound trickled near the out of bounds line. Wilmington played the ball back towards the center of the goal, and the referee whistled Belmont for a penalty inside the box.
Both referees, however, met and decided that the ball was ruled out of bounds before the penalty occurred. Belmont earned a goal kick and dodged the bullet.
In total, Wilmington had eight corner kicks to just one for the Marauders.
“I think that showed our dominance in this game,” said Hendee.
Hendee returns a strong core of players next year, and figures to contend in the postseason again. Still, Hendee said it will be tough to say goodbye to this year’s seniors.
“The seniors are the reason why this team has gone this far,” said Hendee. “They’re such great leaders and the other kids have such great respect for them, so much love for everything that they’ve done.”
Monday’s game was played on the artificial turf of Manning Field, a surface that Wilmington isn’t as familiar with because it plays on natural grass.
The district was scheduled to have artificial turf installed by the beginning of this season. However, due to the appeals that have delayed the process, the turf has not yet been installed.
“If we had turf this year to practice on, I guarantee it would have been a different game,” said Hendee. “Hopefully we’ll have a new field and a new season ready to go next year.”