SAUGUS — The Peabody girls soccer team won the defensive battle, the possession battle and the offensive battle in Monday’s game against Northeastern Conference foe Saugus, but in the end the Tanners still needed a late goal to earn a 2-1 win over the Sachems at Anna Parker Field. Peabody had ample opportunities in the game, with 14 corner kicks and 16 shots on net overall.
“We’ve just got to finish out there,” said Peabody coach Dennis Desroches. “We’re getting so many opportunities to score and we just can’t put them in the net. We had 14 corner kicks (Monday) and 11 in our last game, and we basically have nothing to show for it. Everything else is there, but we really have to start cashing in on scoring chances.”
McKayla Fischer led the Tanners with one goal and one assist, while Chiara Campell added one goal. Colleen Crotty, Maddy Scacchi, Emma Darling and Meghan Billingsley played well defensively, while goalkeeper Shelby Doucette had a solid performance in net.
The lone goal for Saugus came from Kiley Ronan. Madison Goyetche also played well for the Sachems, while goalkeeper Alex Inferrera played well in net.
“We defended really well, especially on the corners,” said Saugus coach Chris Coviello. “From there we were able to step it up in the second half and make a push, but we were kicking the ball around too much.”
It was a back-and-forth battle early on, but Peabody held an advantage in time of possession. The Tanners sent a number of shots on net, but nothing made it through until about 15 minutes into the first half. After an unsuccessful clearing attempt by Saugus, a loose ball found its way onto Fischer’s foot. She quickly maneuvered around two defenders to get an open look at the net and sent a screaming shot inside the left post to make it a 1-0 Peabody lead.
Saugus played stronger following the goal, but the Tanners took that 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, it was the Sachems who came out strong and applied the offensive pressure. With about 24 minutes remaining in the game, Saugus sent a ball deep into the Peabody zone toward the net. Doucette came out of the net to play it for Peabody, but she got caught in a race to the ball with Ronan. Despite a diving attempt by Doucette, it was Ronan who made it to the ball first and she slipped one past the Peabody keeper to tie the score at 1-1.
The game looked like it might end in a draw after that, with both teams getting a number of chances but coming up short. Finally, with just over four minutes left, Peabody broke through.
It started when Fischer took control of the ball at midfield and ran up the middle. Once the defense was pulled in, Fischer sent a perfect pass up the right side to Campbell, who then sent a rising shot that snuck right under the crossbar for the winning goal.
Saugus (6-6) is back in action Wednesday against English (3:45).
“We’ve just got to keep playing well like this,” said Coviello. “We’ve had our struggles when we go up against good teams, but if we play up to our capabilities we can go toe-to-toe with anyone.”
Peabody (7-4) visits Danvers Friday (4).
“This was an important win for us to keep our momentum going in the right direction,” said Desroches. “We’ve won six in a row now and we’re going to have a tough test against Danvers, so we’re going to have to be ready to go.”