WILMINGTON — Back in November of 2018, the Wilmington High School girls' soccer team defeated Dracut in the first round of the Division 2 North Sectional tournament. In that game, a very quick, pesky freshman forward was easily the most noticeable player on the field. You could tell that with a little more experience and composure, her talents would really take off.
That freshman was Alyssa Granara, and certainly since that game, she has taken her game to a whole another level.
Last Wednesday, she scored the team's first three goals as part of the 5-0 win over Watertown. The team had one practice and had gone 18 days without a game, and the junior popped in three goals as if she had never missed a beat.
Granara currently leads the team in scoring with seven goals and one assist. Last year as a sophomore, she led the team with 18 goals and 6 assists, which included her four-goal outburst in the 7-1 first round state tournament win over Salem. As a freshman, she netted 8 goals and added an assist. Through 46 games in her career, she has 33 goals and 8 assists. She notched 30, 31 and 32 coming over a span of 19 minutes of one another — 33 came two days later in a 3-0 win over the same club.
Back in 2015, the Town Crier did a feature story on Jordyn and Bella Granara, Alyssa's two older sisters. At the time, Jordyn was enjoying a breakout season, leading the team with ten goals, while Bella was a sophomore and had a handful of tallies. They both said in their story that Alyssa, 12, at the time, would be a terrific athlete by the time she reached the high school, and indeed they were correct.
"Alyssa has the potential to score in many different ways and she showed that today.,” said head coach Sue Hendee. “She scored one goal from outside, and she is really composed inside the '18 (yard box) and she showed that when she beat the keeper on the first shot. Then she hit it low to the left on the third one. It just shows her strength as a player.”
With last Wednesday's game scoreless early in the second quarter, Olivia Spizuoco got things going offensively for the 'Cats. She made a nice run with the ball before sending a pass to Granara, who shifted past a defender before sending it to the low left corner.
"It was a good run by Olivia. I thought she was going to take the ball with her because she is really fast, but then she passed it to me, so I then cut it in and scored in the low corner," said Granara.
The score remained the same until the opening minutes of the third quarter. Granara had possession of the ball down the left sideline and got tripped by a Watertown player. After staying on the ground for several seconds, with the defendant graciously waiting to see if she was OK, Granara got up to take the direct kick. With the ball placed on the 10-yard line, she lofted a high 20-yard shot which was beautifully placed over the head of the goalie for her second goal of the game.
Seven minutes later she added her third, which was very similar to her first.
"I was trying to shoot low on that goalie because she's tall and she's a good goalie," she said.
The win gave Wilmington a 4-1 record at the time.
"We have done pretty good so far. We have won all of our games except the one Stoneham game and that was an upset for us,” she said before the team went on to beat Watertown for the second time and then ending in a scoreless tie with Melrose.
“Coming into this one, we knew that we had to win this one if we're looking to be league champs.”