KHS girls make their mark in Division II

The Kennett High girls’ soccer team saw its season come to an end with a 3-1 quarterfinal home loss to Merrimack Valley on Sunday afternoon before arguably the largest home crowd to witness a soccer match. The Eagles, who saw their eight-match win streak come to an end, proved they could play with the top sides in Division II this season and for years to come as the team loses just four players to graduation.

“What a season,” Coach Ron Krieger posted on Facebook Sunday night. “I’ve always enjoyed soccer, always enjoyed coaching soccer; never has a team made me love being part of soccer more!

“Adversity tests the grit of everyone that it touches.  A season of continuous uncertainty takes it to a new level.  Starting way back in July we had some of the most awkward ‘training sessions’ imaginable.  Really racked my brain to convert drills into COVID-19 appropriate drills.  Yet they showed up!”

He continued: “Preseason came — holy cow, we can actually train soccer.  Again, everything was new.  My terminology, techniques, style of coaching new to almost all of the Kennett Eagles; and they still showed up.

“Rough start 1-2, mentally tough loses to Plymouth (outscored 10–2 in back-to back-games), and they still showed up.

“Then — It happened.  We saw the leap of understanding to our style of soccer; the one that is fun, is team-built, that emphasizes creativity, that is all-inclusive!  It truly was glorious.  They now were in, I mean they were in.  Training became more focused. Don’t get me wrong, I threw all kinds of stuff at them, that challenged them; yet we frequently saw that training show up in the next game!

Man, it was a season, that is understandably sad to see end. Man, we had some awesome seniors!  Now reflect on the season we had; enjoy the memories ladies, cause Coach is already planning for next year!”

Members of the team include seniors Lia Anzaldi, Camden Capozzoli, Nicole Lockhart and Grace Ruddy; juniors Katherine Brooks, Sam Habert-Jaques, Emily Kenny and Isabelle Murray; sophomores Shannon Abrams, Jocelyn Anzaldi, Elizabeth Blair, Marissa Caputo, Bryn Fayle, Ashley Garside, Carli Krebs and Ginger Priestman, and freshmen Kendall Krieger, Lilla Synnott, Aida Wheat and Ivy Zipf.

The visiting Merrimack Valley Pride, which trounced Plymouth 7-1 in the opening round, went right at Kennett early, and the hometown flock proved it was up to the task. The Pride had the first scoring chance in the eighth minute but Sam Habert-Jaques made a terrific diving save to her left to thwart the attempt.

The Eagles got their first shot on target in the 11th minute, coming off a corner by Shannon Abrams that led to an Aida Wheat shot that was saved by Mackenzie McDonald.

Habert-Jaques made perhaps her best save of the match in the 26th minute when she stopped a point-blank shot from eight yards out by Rhiley Tanguay.  

Kennett took the lead in the 31st minute when Wheat drilled a corner-kick inside the near post that beat the goalie.

Wheat, only a freshman set the program’s single-season scoring mark with 15 goals and four assists this season. Sophomore Shannon Abrams added nine goals with 10 assists this fall for the Eagles.

The Pride drew level on a goal by senior Kaylee Magoon, who won a race to a ball on the right edge of the penalty area and saw her shot go just side the far post.

Magoon scored what proved to be the match-winner in the 39th minute when she won a 50-50 ball inside the penalty area and tucked the ball past Habert-Jaques from six yards out on the near post.

MV added an insurance goal in the 48th minute when Tanguay chipped the keeper on a shot from 20 yards away.

In the Final Four, Pembroke Academy is scheduled to host Merrimack Valley on Thursday at 2 p.m., and Bow will host Milford, also on Thursday at 2 p.m.

The finals are scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. with the winner of the Pembroke/MV match hosting.

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