By Greg Phipps
Though his team came away with a win over the Cardinal Spellman Cardinals earlier in the season, Peabody head coach Dennis Desroches thought they were fortunate to achieve that result. In the second meeting between the two squads, on Monday at Veterans Memorial Stadium, he felt as if their 2-1 victory was well earned.
“We did beat them 2-0 last time, but they had the advantage in all the statistical categories. They had a 7-1 edge in corners and they definitely outshot us. We were backpedaling on defense,” Desroches recalled. “It was like we were playing not to lose. We were lucky to win that game.”
But Monday’s contest was a different story, as the Tanners came out aggressive and controlled the territorial play through most of the first half. They parlayed that effort into two first-half goals, the first coming off a gorgeous shot by freshman McKayla Fischer that landed high up in the netting from about 20 feet away to the right of the goal. Ava D’Ambrosio knocked home what turned out to be the game-winner just minutes later. Emily McDonough picked up an assist.
The visitors weren’t going down without a fight; however, as the Cardinals closed the gap to 2-1 with the only score of the second period. The Peabody defense was able to stiffen enough to hold off the rally attempt. Goalie Shelby Doucette came up with a few clutch saves, and Desroches credited fullbacks Colleen Crotty, Aja Alimonte, Meghan Billingsley and Jordyn Collins with outstanding efforts.
Desroches was pleased with the fact that Peabody fared well Monday in the areas that matter most. The Tanners posted 18 shots at the net, 11 of them on goal, and finished with a resounding 8-1 advantage on corner kicks, clear evidence of territorial control.
“Today we got off to a great start, but they came at us in the second half,” Desroches said. “We hung tough defensively and in the middle, and we didn’t backpedal at all. I also loved that we got off so many shots. We’ve been working on that.”
Monday’s win left the Tanners with a 6-3-1 record. Peabody was coming off a 5-0 win over Somerville last week. The Tanners hope to keep the winning streak going when they travel to take on Medford on Wednesday (after press deadline).