“It was bend it like MacArthur,” said Newton South girls’ soccer coach Doug McCarthy to describe Sophie MacArthur’s left-footed corner kick goal that lifted the Lions over Dual County League rival and eighth ranked Westford Academy, 1-0, Friday at Winkler Stadium. The junior central defender drilled the goal in the 70th minute as the Lions (4-5-1, 4-4-1) earned their third win in a row after a sluggish 1-3-1 start. “Sophie is a great player, she has a strong foot and handles many of our dead ball kicks, corners, penalty kicks,” said McCarthy. “Luckily for us she was in a great position to score and handled the situation extremely well.” Immediately following the goal, McCarthy called a timeout to settle his team down. "We called a timeout to give some instructions as far as what we needed to do to close the game out,”said McCarthy. “We basically told them to take care of the ball and that they didn’t need to score again but they needed to protect the ball and not give Westford any opportunities.” The Lions, who have undergone many positional changes due to injuries, opened the first half slowly and allowed Westford (7-1, 2-2) to control the midfield. The Grey Ghosts’ two central midfielders Caitlyn Paltsios and Meghan Thomasch dominated the midfield in the first half by winning positional battles and deftly moved the ball downfield to their forwards and skilled offensive players. “We made some tactical strategies in the first half and we tried to play more in their defending third,” said McCarthy. “In the second half our goal was to be more successful in the midfield than in the first half.” Senior central midfield Tori Swartz and sophomore midfielders Izi Epshtein and Tamar Bulka won difficult battles across the midfield and were responsible for maintaining possession of the ball and creating offensive plays on the Ghosts’s half of the field. Senior captain and midfielder Karina Alfisher also stabilized the outside midfield and erased several of Lions’s errors on throw-ins and dead ball kicks that plagued them in the first half. Senior outside defender and three year starter Lauren Astrachan also limited the Grey Ghosts’s scoring opportunities downfield by disrupting their offensive rhythm with stifling one-one defense. The Lions finished with seven shots on goal to the Ghosts’s six. “Lauren is a constant for us and she rarely ever comes out of the game,” said McCarthy. “She reads the game in front of her really well and has the experience to shut down plays and she rarely gets beaten by an opposing player.” The Lions look to improve their record in the Dual County League and continue their strong second half with a matchup against Bedford next Wednesday.
Newton South 1, Westford 0
Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at Newton
Updated: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 3:14 a.m.