by Dakota Antelman
A 3-0 lead at halftime was not comfortable enough for the girls soccer team in their game against Gardner on Wednesday. That’s because almost a year ago, against the same team, in a nearly identical situation, three goals were not enough to seal the victory.
Hudson let a 3-0 lead at halftime slip away against Gardner last year, settling for a 3-3 tie. With memories of that comeback fresh in their minds, the Hawks returned to the field in the second half and promptly beat the Wildcats 4-1.
“I think with last year, how we were ahead, we ended up tying, we were much more motivated to not let that happen again,” said senior Beverly Calandra. “Everyone was much more focused on the game, and we weren’t cocky thinking we already had it in the bag. It was nice to keep the lead while we had it.”
As they did last fall when Sophia DiPlacido notched a hat trick in the first half of her team’s eventual tie with Gardner, the Hawks got off to a good start.
Grace Starner scored early in the game off a corner kick by Calandra deep into the goalie box. After dominating possession of the ball for the first 20 minutes of the game, Gardner nearly tied the game. Hawk goalie Erin Campbell, however, recovered after charging at the Gardner striker and preserved the lead.
Brooke Bohn regained the momentum for Hudson later in the half when she headed Hudson’s second goal past Gardner goalie Courtney Richard. The goal was the second Hudson scored off a corner kick in the game.
“Since I have such a long kick, I like to aim it for the back post mostly on the six-yard line because the goalie is typically not that far out,” said Calandra, who took both corner kicks.”This team tonight wasn’t marking up our players well, so we were able to get the space to score some goals.”
The Hawks added another goal before the end of the half when Maggie Baker hammered home a rebound generated by Brooke Bohn. Though the flurry of first half scoring energized the Hudson crowd, Hudson coaches were wary of keeping their players engaged in the game as they entered the second half. For Fortwengler, the memory of last year’s 3-0 halftime lead that melted away remained fresh.
“[I was] trying to bring up the rumors of last year and how it ended and how I didn’t want it to happen again,” Fortwengler said. “I was really trying to keep their enthusiasm going and their energy high.”
In many ways, the team did just as their coach asked. Alex Sousa scored midway through the second half, expanding Hudson’s lead to 4-0. On the other end of the field, goalie Erin Campbell and the defense in front of her held onto the shutout until Gardner finally scored with less than six minutes left.
Things then heated up in the game’s final minutes. Officials awarded both teams free kicks as fouls piled up late in the game. Tensions between the teams reached a boiling point with just under three minutes left when a Gardner player earned a yellow card for punching Hudson’s Carley Devlin.
For Fortwengler, the physical conclusion to the game was a display of his team’s strengths.
“Good fouls are good fouls, and sometimes the fans and the people feed off of a good foul and it starts to get a little crazy,” he said. “I try not to let the referees dictate the game, but we play hard and sometimes schools can’t handle that.
Hudson now moves on to face Concord-Carlisle on Saturday. Before they left the field on Wednesday, however, Fortwengler relished his team’s ability to face an eerily similar situation to last year’s game and produce a different result.
“When you play a team before and it’s 3-0 and they come back and score goals, that haunts you,” he said. “But you just have to focus on what you want to do to get better. We did that tonight.”