MATTAPOISETT — There’s a reason insurance goals matter.
Old Rochester found that out the hard way on Wednesday night.
The unbeaten Bulldogs let a win morph into a tie when Somerset Berkley scored its second 30-yard free kick goal of the game in the 79th minute of a 2-2 tie at Jeffrey E. Riley Field.
“I feel like this game knocked our morale down a little bit, but we should continue to bounce back,” said sophomore Mary Butler, who scored early in the second half to put ORR up 2-1. “I think we just had an off-night.”
In the 79ty minute, Somerset Berkley scores it's second long free kick goal of the night to tie it 2-2 pic.twitter.com/EsQ8u66NIr
— SouthCoast Varsity (@SC_Varsity) October 12, 2017
The Raiders’ Caitlyn Laliberte took a free kick with less than a minute to go and arced it through the night sky, just under the crossbar and off goalie Caitlyn Kutash’s leaping hands into the back of the net. Back in the 27th minute, Macy Paquin had taken an eerily similar free kick and it, too, had bounced off Kutash’s outstretched hands and into the net. Coincidentally, the Raiders (7-1-4) had scored on a pair of free kicks in a 4-2 loss to ORR (12-0-1) in the season opener.
“We saw how well they did on those the first game and we talked about how we can’t give away fouls,” ORR coach Jeff Lombard said. “A tie is not what they wanted. They were all gearing up for a big Senior Night and to secure first place. It’s not like it’s gone, but it’s making it more difficult.”
The Bulldogs started their 11 seniors for Senior Night, then brought in their regular lineup 10 minutes into the game. The Bulldogs’ first goal came in the 32nd minute when Maddie Demanche crossed a ball to Jillian Kutash, who slipped it to Meg Hughes. Hughes went five-hole on her defender, raced around and got her foot on the shot.
“I thought I had missed, but it went in,” she said. “We went shoulder to shoulder and I overpowered her. It brought us up a little bit, got us excited.”
That goal sent the Bulldogs into halftime with the score knotted at 1-1, and a different ORR team came out in the second half. Instead of kicking long and running under, the Bulldogs started stringing together passes up the sidelines, often getting the ball to Butler on the wing as Hughes made runs through the middle.
“Most of the first half we didn’t look like we were in sync,” Lombard said. “We were scrambling a little bit. A lot of that was the Somerset pressure. A lot of us were playing quickly without playing to the right places. The second half they came alive a little bit.
“Overall, I thought we played a better second half and we got unlucky,” Butler added. “I think we came in a little too, not over confident, but we just have to work harder and treat every game like it’s big.”
In the 44th minute, Maddie Demanche sent a corner to Butler’s foot and she sent it home.
“We’ve been working a little on our formation on corners,” she said. “I just made a run and it hit off my leg.”
Maddie Demnache corner finds the foot of Mary Butler and ORR has a 2-1 lead on Somerset Berkley with 35 min to go pic.twitter.com/iqMmj740bI
— SouthCoast Varsity (@SC_Varsity) October 11, 2017
The Bulldogs had numerous opportunities to pad their lead over the next 25 minutes, including a shot by Butler that was kick-saved by Raiders defender Brielle Tripp in the 53rd minute and a shot by Rachel Demmer that went wide in the 58th minute. She sent another shot wide in the 76th minute.
“It was just unfortunate we couldn’t get one more,” Lombard said. “They fought hard. Who knows, maybe having a little push back from a team like this will help re-focus and energize us to finish out the season.”
WHAT IT MEANS: The Bulldogs stay atop the South Coast Conference Large Division standings, but their lead over Somerset Berkley (7-1-4) got a little smaller. The Bulldogs, who have outscored their opponents 68-9 this season, are scheduled to face Apponequet on the road at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, but that game may get postponed, making Monday’s game at Case their next contest. “I fully expect that we will snap back,” Lombard said.
STATS: ORR put 13 shots on net, with 10 of those coming in the second half. ... Kutash made three saves in net. ... ORR enjoyed a 4-1 edge in corner kicks and both teams were called offsides twice.
SENIOR NIGHT: The Bulldogs honored their 11 seniors before the game, then let them play together for the first 10 minutes of the game. ... “The seniors this year were a lot more meaningful than I thought,” Butler said. “They’re all really nice people. Luckily, I have a couple more sports with some of them.” ... “A lot of them are my friends,” Hughes said. “I’ll miss them.”
NOTES: SB’s speedy, skilled forward combo of Brooke Sullivan and Sam Boraes gave the Bulldogs trouble all night, even though they didn’t score. ... The Bulldogs didn’t even produce a true scoring opportunity until Butler’s shot went wide in the 23rd minute.
Follow Brendan Kurie on Twitter @BrendanKurieSCT