TEWKSBURY — Last year, the Tewksbury Memorial High School girls' soccer team had an up and down season. It ended with a 1-0 loss to Billerica in the first round of the Division 2 North Sectional Tournament. The loss ended the team's season with a 6-7-6 overall record.
Six weeks or so ago, the shortened 2020 season was about to begin and head coach Samantha Tavantzis knew that she was bringing back a lot of players from last year's team, but with the new rules and modifications, no one knew what to expect over the ten-game season.
This past week the Redmen completed that ten-game season with a 4-0 loss to Central Catholic before ending in a scoreless tie on Friday against Chelmsford, played in almost complete darkness due to the inclement weather.
The 0-1-1 week closed the books on the season with the Redmen finishing with a 7-2-1 record, surpassing the team's win total of last year, despite playing nine less games (and yes, different opponents).
“I was really impressed with this season,” she said. “Obviously starting the season out on a seven-game winning streak is great for any coach and any team. We were playing really well and we were clicking. Our two losses were to Central Catholic and they are the best team in the league that we did play, but I do think things could have been different if we played them at the beginning of the season when everyone was healthy. We were missing three starters these last few games, and it would have been nice to have them against Central. It is what it is, but I'm really proud of the team. Overall under the circumstances, with everything going on and the restrictions, they came through and all did the best that they could do.”
Tewksbury's two losses came against Central, who posted 11 wins last year, including one in the Division 1 North tournament. The season ending tie came against a pesky Chelmsford team, led by goalie Kate Krueger, who in that game posted her 24th shut out of her terrific career.
“We missed scoring opportunities and I thought we definitely outplayed them, but we just couldn't score and couldn't finish (our chances),” said Tavantzis. “The end of the game all of the seniors played so that was nice. They played well, the team played well, but we just couldn't finish. We had a lot more opportunities than they did, but overall, we ended the season on a good note.
“(Krueger) is a good goalie. Iris (Diaz-Archilla) took a shot and most other goalies would have let it in, but she didn't. She made a real nice save.”
Tewksbury had a number of quality scoring chances but couldn't convert, while at the other end Kassidy MacDonald came through with a big save on her own in the closing minutes. She played well to register the shut out, as did several of her teammates.
“Daniela (Almeida) does well in every game,” said Tavantzis. “She's the one who was getting everybody going. I put at forward and center-midfield to see if she could score some goals. She came close and did well, but we had many chances but couldn't finish. Ashlyn Nawn had another strong game. She got hurt towards the end of the game but she was phenomenal on defense. Erin McIntyre also played really well defensively.”
The game marked the end of the careers of ten seniors, including quad captains Lexi Polimeno, Iris Diaz-Archilla, Brenna Cassidy and Alyssa Marchaletta, as well as Erin McIntyre, Cat Burke, Allie Indingaro, Christina Capachietti, Abby Hansbury and Alex Fowler.
“I have coached this group now for four years, well some of them for four and I have known all of them now for four years having them in class and overall, they are just a great group of kids,” said the coach. “They are all kind. They all work really, really hard and they are all dedicated to the program. It really makes a big difference just having all of them on the same page, to come to practice everyday and to have positive energy all around.”
On the season, Tewksbury outscored its opponents 19-15 with Almeida leading with seven tallies, followed by Sheehan with 4, Lexi Polimeno with 3, Indingaro with two and Victoria Catanzano as well as the sisters Iris and Gabby Diaz-Archilla with one each.
Next year's team will have a handful of talented players returning led by Almeida, Sheehan, Victoria Catanzano, Kati Polimeno, Ashlyn Nawn and MacDonald (3 shut outs) back in the net.
Besides Daniela Almeida being named to the All-State and All-Eastern Mass teams, junior Jordan Sheehan was named to the Eastern Mass Second team. She finished this season with four goals.