LYNN— Make room for another City Tournament crown in the St. Mary’s girls soccer team’s collection. The Spartans won their fifth consecutive Lynn title with a 5-0 victory over English Saturday at Manning Field.
“Our first goal every year is to win the City Tournament,” Spartans coach Jim Foley said. “That’s what we want. A lot of these girls play with one another and know one another from all the different schools. It’s always a goal of ours to start with winning the Lynn City Tournament. Hopefully that gives us some momentum to carry into the season.”
Junior forward Julia Nickolau, who scored three goals, brought home tournament MVP honors for St. Mary’s.
“Julia really showed up,” Foley said. “She worked really hard during the offseason. She had a great game (Saturday), she had a great game (Tuesday). We need to spread the scoring around. They’re going to set on Kayla (Demers) because she’s our leading scorer. If we can get some offense from Julia, that’s going to put some pressure on other teams.”
English coach Ed McNeil and his Bulldogs knew they’d face an uphill battle against a deep Spartans team. But McNeil was proud of his girls for putting forth a valiant effort.
“We worked hard,” McNeil said. “It’s a work in progress for us. We have six or seven new starters. We’ll get better as the season goes on.
“This was one of those games where we knew we’d be up against it. St. Mary’s is a great team. But we worked hard. The senior captains, Ravyn Rapley, Dayana Gamboni and Jullianna Perry, they bring it every game. Arianna Garcia, in the middle of the field, is a terrific player. They play the whole game and they have to. We dressed 15 players. We don’t have a lot of numbers. We’ll get better. Slowly but surely.”
And the Bulldogs can use Saturday’s game as preparation for what they’ll see later this fall from a stacked Northeastern Conference.
“Jullianna played her heart out,” McNeil said, “and my leading scorer, Melissa Zayas, was hurt. She played but she wasn’t herself. But I’m taking nothing away from St. Mary’s. They’re very good. That’s a state tournament team.”
Nickolau gave the Spartans a swift 1-0 lead just a few minutes into the contest. After the early goal, the Bulldogs calmed down and settled into the game. St. Mary’s sent a couple shots in English goalie Elysse Newson’s direction but Newson was stout in net, keeping her Bulldogs in the game.
“She was a forward last year as a sophomore and missed most of the year with an injury,” McNeil said. “She came back and said, ‘I know you need a goalie.’ She’s going to be really good and she’s only a sophomore. I can’t fault her for any of the goals. She’s one of those kids that takes everything on herself but she was wonderful.”
Senior midfielder Gabriella Diaz bumped the lead to 2-0 midway through the first half. St. Mary’s carried a 4-0 advantage at recess after Nickolau and senior forward Kayla Demers capped the half with a goal each.
Nickolau netted her third goal of the afternoon six minutes into the second half. St. Mary’s coasted the rest of the way.
The Spartans (2-0) travel to Boston to take on Cathedral Wednesday (3).
“We wanted to get these wins under our belt early in the season,” Foley said. “We wanted to get some of the younger girls playing time and gain some confidence.”
English (1-1) makes the quick trip to Saugus for its first Northeastern Conference game of the season Monday (4).