Norton U15 Soccer Captures State Championship
Norton Youth Soccer celebrated its second state championship in six seasons with a 1-0 victory against Framingham.
It’s been roughly one week since Norton Youth Soccer celebrated its second Division 2 state championship, as the U15 girl’s soccer team captured the organization’s second crown in six seasons with a 1-0 victory against Framingham at the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions.
“I could not be happier for the girls. They are a great group that worked hard for several years and to have them finish up with a state championship is very rewarding,” stated head coach Tim Dermody. “It was a honor to represent the town of Norton at the MTOC and bring back a state title to Norton Youth Soccer.”
Norton’s U15 squad secured a one goal lead early in last weekend’s championship bout, and relied on goaltender Kat Saba, who according to Dermody, played her best game of the season, which helped the team earn their final victory of the season.
“We scored four minutes into the match and were able to make that stand for the remaining 76 minutes,” explained Dermody. “The girls played extremely well and moved to a defensive set as the match progressed. Framingham [worked] hard for the tying goal, [but] our backline leveraged the offside trap extensively and frustrated their strikers, while the midfielders and strikers controlled most of the play.”
Norton compiled eight consecutive wins this past spring, and managed to win the South Coast Soccer League final, which catapulted them to the MTOC tournament.
Once the Round Robin commenced, Norton earned two back-to-back victories against Brockton and Sutton before they sustained a tie against Lynn, a match Dermody believed refueled his squad.
“We learned the most from [the match against Lynn],” said Dermody. “Lynn had great speed up top and showed us some defensive looks that we had not seen during the SCSL season. With that, we were able to address some situations as well as adjust our formation for the semi-final and final matches.”
Norton recovered with a two-goal victory against Lowell, as the entire roster worked together to overcome their only draw of the tournament, which then punched their ticket to the championship.
“We maintained possession for most of the match and put a lot of pressure on Lowell to defend our three strikers, Laura Johnson, Gillian Dermody, and Lauren MacGray, and we made the most out of our set opportunities,” said Dermody of his team’s effort against Lowell.
“Lowell closed the gap to 2-1 with a penalty kick, but Laura Johnson put the match away with a nice finish with 5 minutes remaining,” added Dermody. “Our inside midfield play from Yuuka McPherson and Catherine Conroy dominated the match while the two-way play on the outside from Marisa Amato, Olivia McCarthy, and Emily Weber was outstanding. Our back line combination of Lauren Erickson, Amy Pereira, Holly Beaucage, Brittany Byrnes, and Kyla Prosper did a fantastic job of neutralizing their speed, managing the off sides trap, and minimizing scoring opportunities while our keeper, Kat Saba, played fantastic.”
Norton concluded their weekend with an exciting victory against Framingham that capped off an eight-year journey for many of these girls, who started playing soccer together in the U8 Division.
“We started eight years ago playing in the U8 division. Each year we would add a player or two and continue to grow as a team,” said Dermody. “Most of the girls are playing currently at Norton High School, as well as Coyle Cassidy, Bishop Feehan, and Moses Brown. Six played at the varsity level this past year, and many of the girls played multiple sports in high school along with AAU basketball, too.”
The win not only provided the town’s youth soccer program with their second trophy, (the first championship was won by Ernie Bronco’s U12 team), but excitement, according to Dermody, going forward for a majority of soccer players.
“A lot of credit has to go to the Norton Youth Soccer association for their continued support and commitment to the all the players and coaches. From coaches clinics, indoor winter leagues, summer soccer camps, and field improvements, they are the backbone to a successful program and a primary reason why Norton teams are annually finalists in their SCSL division,” exclaimed the head coach.
Asked if he thinks his team can repeat next season, Dermody responded, “We have to see what commitments the girls have for next year and then decide if it is possible to make another run at it. No worries either way, we accomplished the goal we had set for this year and this team."