WAKEFIELD — The Bishop Fenwick girls soccer team got off to a bit of a slow start in Thursday’s Division 3 North quarterfinal game against Stoneham, and it made all the difference. Stoneham netted a goal midway through the first half and locked down on defense from there as Fenwick fell, 2-0, at Galvin Middle School.
“We came out very nervous in the first half, and maybe it’s because we weren’t put in too many positions like this during the season, but we got off to a slow start,” said Fenwick coach Steve Flaherty. “But take nothing away from Stoneham, that’s a great team with very good players. They put the pressure on us from the beginning.”
Isabella Fabbo, Alison Mitchell, Madison Csogi, Katie Dunn and goalkeeper Claudia Keith played well for Fenwick in the loss.
It wasn’t the best start for the Crusaders in the first half, as Stoneham jumped out early and made aggressive pushes into the offensive zone. Fenwick was playing on its heels for the first 15 minutes of the game and only got one shot on goal during that span.
Then, with just under 20 minutes to go in the first half, Stoneham struck. The Spartans cleared the ball out of their defensive zone and sent it up the field to reset. But Samantha Caldarelli had other plans, as she sprinted to get behind the defense and settle the ball herself. She broke for the net and let loose on a shot from about 20 yards out that snuck past the outstretched hands of Keith to make it 1-0 Stoneham.
Despite a bit more push offensively by Fenwick in the later part of the first half, Stoneham took that 1-0 lead into the break.
“Look, my job was to get the girls ready and I certainly didn’t do a good job of that in the first half,” said Flaherty. “But the girls played hard and recovered well after the goal. We were pushing toward the end of the first half.”
Fenwick came out with some adjustments in the second half and started to push the pace a bit more offensively. The Crusaders earned a corner and a free kick within the first 10 minutes, but both opportunities came up empty.
“I’m kicking myself now because I probably should have made the adjustments a bit earlier in the game, but we were only down one goal and I wanted us to play our style of soccer,” said Flaherty. “Once we settled down we were much better, but when you go up against a good team you have to take advantage of you opportunities and we couldn’t do that.”
Unfortunately for Fenwick, that positive momentum didn’t last. With just under 19 minutes left in the game, Caldarelli came up with another loose ball deep in the Fenwick zone and launched another hard shot into the back of the net to make it 2-0 and effectively seal the win for Stoneham.
The loss means the end of the line for six Fenwick seniors — Fabbo, Csogi, Katelyn Clark, Lily Farrell, Eva Noci and Oceane Goriou. Flaherty will miss their contributions to the program, but he also knows that he has plenty of firepower returning in 2020.
“I’m going to miss the seniors and their leadership, their commitment to the program over the past few years has been huge for us,” said Flaherty. “At the same time, we have a lot of younger players coming up who have now gotten a taste of the tournament, and that will only benefit us going forward.”
The Crusaders close out the season at 12-6-2.