Girls’ Soccer Holds Their Own Against Undefeated Needham

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A Walpole forward dribbles past a Needham defender.

Karalyn Kickham

A Walpole forward dribbles past a Needham defender.
The Girls’ Varsity soccer team has had a rather inconsistent start to this fall’s season.  After graduating 12 seniors last year, 8 of whom were starters, the girls had to completely readjust and adapt to playing with almost a whole new lineup.  The Rebels have won a couple, lost a few, and tied a few, proving that they are still adjusting to playing together as a very young team.  However, the girls showed their progress in their 1-1 tie against Needham last Thursday, September 27.
The girls knew the competition would be tough heading into their game under the lights against rival Needham.  The Needham Girls’ soccer team is ranked number nine on The Globe Top 20, and currently has a record of 6-0-2.  They are also first in the Carey division of the Bay State Conference.  Needham must have thought this game would be an easy win, seeing as they are well ahead of Walpole record-wise, but the Walpole girls gave Needham a run for their money.
Both teams came out strong to begin the first half, but Needham won most 50/50 balls in the air with headers.  Within the first 15 minutes, Needham had scored a goal off of a cross bringing the score to 1-0, Needham.  Walpole quickly deflated Needham’s confidence, however, and began to gain more possession as the half progressed.  Once they gained control of the ball, the girls were able to work the ball up the field through a series of ground passes and create scoring opportunities for themselves.  With about 15 minutes left in the first half, senior Captain Seana Cofsky sent a cross on the ground to senior Captain Ella McMackin, who took a one touch shot into the back of Needham’s net, allowing Walpole to end the half confidently with a 1-1 tie.
Adjustments were made moving into the second half, as Cofsky moved from center mid to outside mid, switching with sophomore Stephanie Lund, in hopes to create more scoring opportunities similar to McMackin’s goal for the Rebels.  Walpole took advantage of Needham’s obvious frustration by bringing their A-game to the second half, further increasing the frustration of the Needham team.  Walpole drastically increased the number of 50/50 balls won out of the air, and maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the half.  Sophomore Abby McMackin came to the rescue after a ball was loose in the box in the Rebels end, and she cleared it out right before it crossed the goal line.  The Rebels dominated the game the entire second half, but despite many opportunities were not able to finish with a goal, and the game ended with a 1-1 tie.
Although it was not a win, this tie against Needham was a huge accomplishment for the girls, and Needham completely underestimated the competition Walpole brought to the field.  Cofsky said, “We had a great feeling coming into this game and we just carried all the positive energy onto the field with us.”  The Rebels obviously wanted to add a win to their record, but the tie against undefeated Needham may have been just the confidence boost that the girls needed to help them progress for the remainder of the season.  With a record of 2-3-3, Girls’ soccer has high expectations heading into the rest of their games.