From the start of Wednesday’s Division 1 South quarterfinal, the Oliver Ames girls’ soccer team was a step ahead of Needham in its 5-0 victory Wednesday night.
Thanks to a two-goal night from junior forward Pam Grant; a two-point night from senior midfielder Emily Grotz (a goal and an assist); and two corner kick assists from senior tri-captain Mallory Fisher, OA avenged a loss against the same Needham squad two years ago.
“We knew we were here for a tough haul,” said Needham coach Carl Tarabelli, who will only lose two seniors to graduation from this year’s squad. “We’re a very young side and they have a strong side physically. They have what it takes. They’ve got some size, they have some speed and they have a good technical ability.”
OA coach Britt Sellmayer can relate on Tarabelli’s remarks as he had a similar issue against the same Needham squad that was more experienced in 2009.
“We were on the opposite end of the spectrum two years ago when we played them and we were the young team,” he said. “This year we were the senior team and the senior team usually gets the break.”
OA wasted little time to use that experience and skill to its advantage on this night.
Just 10:02 into the contest, OA freshman Kate Holleran – the hero in Monday’s first round win over Falmouth – scored her second goal of the tournament; heading one past junior goalie Allison Vega.
Exactly 1:04 later, Grotz extended the lead to 2-0 using her speed to get past the Needham defenders on a breakaway. About seven minutes after, Grotz set up Grant on a nifty feed for her first tally of the night in the 18th minute.
While they wasted little time to gain an advantage, Sellmayer knew the Lady Tigers would be pumped with the memory of the elimination fresh in his team’s head two years later.
“We were fired up,” he said. “This was the same team that knocked us off two years ago and most of our players were a part of it. It was a learning lesson for us so there was a little extra about it.
“We came out and put together our best game of the year at the right time. Emily Grotz was all over played so well up front she was just ripping it up. They didn’t have an answer for her. Pam Grant, Kristina Simonson and Kate Holleran all stepped up as well. It was a great game for us all the way around.”
Grant added her second tally in the second half during the 70th minute, while sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Murphy wrapped things up with her goal in the last two minutes.
Needham, ranked 20th in this years sectionals, ends its 2011 campaign at 11-9-0 and builds a little momentum heading into next year after a surprising run.
“I’m bringing back all but two players next year,” said Tarabelli. “When you start three freshmen and five sophomores, you have to take your bumps and we took them this year.”
The fifth-seeded Tigers, which improved to 15-2-3 on the year, move on to face top-ranked Bishop Feehan (18-0-1) in the Division 1 South semifinals for the on Friday (location and time still to be determined). OA will look to avenge a loss against the same Feehan squad in last year's sectional semis
“We played a great game tonight,” Sellmayer said. “Hopefully, we can build on this on Friday.”