The Green Wave scored twice in the first half Monday and held on for a 2-1 road win.
QUINCY — Two girls soccer teams with more talent than their records faced off Monday afternoon at Creedon Field, with Abington High scoring two goals in a dominant first half, and then holding off a spirited North Quincy comeback throughout the second half to escape with a 2-1 victory.
Abington improved to 2-3-1 with the non-league victory, but the Green Wave is still 0-3-1 in South Shore League action. On the side, North Quincy is still searching for its first win after four games, and if hustle and determination aren’t the Raiders’ problem, putting the ball in the net might be, as Monday’s abundance of late chances indicated.
“That was a nice back-and-forth battle all day,” Abington coach Kate Casey said. “North Quincy plays a more physical game than we are used to, which is not a criticism of them at all. But it did take us some time to adapt to that style.”
The visitors showed a startling ability in the first half for their midfielders to provide through-balls, clean passes through the defense that allowed strikers to try to outrun defenders to the ball. A tactic that left North Quincy defenders tentative and led to exciting chances, including a rush down the left sideline in the ninth minute by senior Maddie Grafton that was saved by North Quincy sophomore goalkeeper Victoria Talarico. Just a couple of minutes later, North Quincy junior Rory Mahoney broke free down the middle, and uncorked a shot from 20 yards that forced Abington sophomore goalie Isabella O’Connell to make a tough save.
But one more perfect through-ball set up Grafton for a score at 14:35, as she simply outraced the defense to the ball, sidestepped the onrushing Talarico and had a wide open net in which to tuck the ball.
Abington padded its lead at the 36-minute mark. A textbook through-ball led to Kayli Tobin and Hannah Liebke breaking free behind the last defender, wide open 20 yards out. Liebke took a feed from Tobin and chipped the goalie for a 2-0 lead.
“We figured whichever team scored first in the second half would probably decide this game,” Casey said.
Abington had a goal by Brianna McCadden disallowed for offsides early in the second half that would have salted things away at 3-0.
That seemed to inspire North Quincy as Mahoney unleashed a blast from 18 yards out in the 49th minute that sailed just wide right. North Quincy senior Jillian Harrington got herself a breakaway down the middle in the 52nd minute, forcing O’Connell to rush out and smother the ball. But that sustained pressure paid off at 52:43, when Mary Kate McAleavey scored off a free kick from about 25 yards out on the left side to close the gap to 2-1.
North Quincy had other good chances down the stretch — and Abington’s Grafton hit the post with a header — before the final whistle.
North Quincy has just six seniors, some experience, and loads of young talent.
“We definitely had a strong offensive second half with more chances and scoring opportunities than the first half,” North Quincy coach Emily Rooney said. “That is something as a team we have been working on and it was great to see it start clicking for the girls in the second half.”
Abington graduated some top talent last year, including midfielder Marissa Golden and defender Autumn LaPointe. But the Green Wave has a solid core of experienced players eager to make 2018 a season to remember.
“We have 10 seniors out of our roster of 17,” Casey said. “We have a lot of veterans overall, but those seniors are mainly players who have been with us for four years, having come in as freshmen and carried it onward. They are a fun and hard-working bunch, and hopefully they can begin to leave their mark. The South Shore League is always competitive, and we are still looking for our first win there, but this is a good victory against a very tough team, on the road, so it’s a good sign.”