Foley OT goal sends Hanover girls soccer back to state final
LYNN — For Sophia Foley, the biggest moment of the Hanover High girls soccer team’s season (so far) came and went in a blur.
In one blink, the main striker nodded the ball just outside the box. In the next one, the entire Hawks roster stormed the field, players fell to the turf and an onslaught of emotions ensued.
“I’m a very emotional person,” said Foley, a UMass Amherst commit. “I think I cry after almost every game. Whether it’s after a big win, or after a loss.”
Foley fired a rocket that looped far left and went through as the No. 3 Hawks stunned second-seeded Dover-Sherborn, 2-1, in overtime at Manning Field in Lynn on Wednesday night to advance to the Div. 3 final for the second season in a row.
Hanover, which is looking to repeat as state champions, has a title game date with No. 4 Norwell at Scituate High on Saturday (time TBD).
“These girls, they want another state title. You can see the tears in their eyes,” said Hanover coach Mary Cullity. “It’s all they’ve dreamed of, to be here back to back seasons. They know how much I want them. For everything to come together like this, it couldn’t be better. “
“I was just in the zone,” Foley said of her game-winning goal. “As a whole team, we were pushing and putting everything forward. We don’t say every time we go on, ‘Give your all’ and ‘This could be our last game.’ That’s exactly what we did.”
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Hanover defeated Dover-Sherborn, 1-0, in penalty kicks in last year’s semifinals in a game played on the same field. A year later, another tense conflict took place.
“We knew coming into tonight that it was going to be an emotional game, full of passion,” Culity said. “It was a real thriller, but the girls knew how much they wanted it. I think that’s what got him through tonight.”
The Hawks (21-0-1), scoreless in the first 70 minutes of play, held back 1-0 thanks to a goal by Dover-Sherborn’s Milla Lee in the 50th minute. That was the only score of the game until junior Sophie Schiller got a shot off the top and tied things at the 10-minute mark to set up the final overtime moments.
“They got involved,” Cullity said of Foley and Schiller. “They are our old faithful, proud and true. They know exactly how to put the ball in the back of the net. We can always count on them.”
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Hanover, which brought a perfect 20-0-1 season into play, has not dropped a game since Oct. 24 of last season (a 2-0 home loss to Notre Dame Academy). Wednesday’s final will make it 30 straight without the defeat – the lone draw at Scituate (1-1) came on October 24th of this year.
Most of the night, was there any doubt that the perfect season would end on Wednesday?
“Of course here,” said Foley, “Even going down, we didn’t dwell on it or anything. We drove past and we were like, ‘Look, if we go down, we have to come back stronger.’ That’s exactly what we did.”
Hanover blanked No. 5 Danvers, 1-0, on a goal scored by Foley in last year’s final. As an early scouting report for this year, the lone head-to-head against Norwell went Hanover, 1-0, on September 8. It was only the Hawks’ second game of the season.
“Our eyes were set on another state title the minute we won last year,” Culity said. If we could do it last year, we could do it again this year. We’ve to train for this time, and this final state game.
“To be here, to have this opportunity, it’s a dream,” she said. “One way or another, I’m so proud of them and everything they’ve accomplished. “
This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Hanover High girls soccer defeats Dover-Sherborn in Division 3 semifinals