As the Greater New Bedford girls entered Monday’s soccer game against South Coast rival Wareham, the Bears needed only 2 points to make their postseason goal a reality. “I told [the girls] they needed 2 more points,” said Bears coach Rosanne Franco. “We wanted to come out really strong and make sure we put this one away. We needed to score often and early.” Freshman Rileigh Avila appeared to take Franco’s words to heart. The forward scored a career-high five goals as the Bears (8-7-2) clinched the program’s first MIAA tournament berth with a 6-1 victory over the Vikings. “She’s fearless,” said Franco. “She’s willing to put her body into the mix. And she’s really humble, too. She was concerned she scored too many goals tonight. That humility and hard work ethic is really the core of Rileigh.” Avila scored three goals in the first 35 minutes for her first career hat trick. With 10 minutes to go in the half and the game seemingly in hand, Franco took Avila out of the game. Anticipating a fired-up Viking offense to start the second half, Franco put her starters back in the game, and Avila scored again before adding a header off a cross to cap her amazing afternoon. “The whole team earned opportunities for Rileigh and Rileigh put them away,” said Franco. “Today seemed like the whole team came together.” When it came to clinching the team’s first appearance in the Division 2 South tournament, Franco was quite frank. “I knew this team was going to be the team that made it,” she said.
Greater New Bedford 6, Wareham 1
Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, at Wareham
Updated: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 6:11 a.m.