With 90 seconds remaining in a game with the potential to make or break the Haverhill girls soccer season, senior co-captain Shannen Styrczula broke free for a 50 yard break-a-way that culminated in the game tying goal at Billerica. The Hillies, who went on to salvage a much needed point (1-1 tie in overtime) now sit at 2-3-2 at the mid-way point of the season, needing 8 points in their remaining 8 games to qualify for the tournament.
“Every point matters”, said coach Fred Tarbox.“We really needed to win this game, but we couldn't lose it.”
Last years Merrimack Valley (Small) champions have been hit hard by injuries this season, losing all-star goal keeper Meghan Gulbransen for three games to a sprained ankle and senior co-captain Molly Fitzgerald to an ankle injury as well.
Compounding things has been a bit of bad luck, as evidenced by Shannon Styrczula finding the post five times this year, including a ball early on Thursday night that whizzed by Billerica goal keeper Shannon Haye's (12 saves) head only to find the crossbar. As well as a tough bounce midway through the first half that led to the Indian's lone goal of the game. when sophomore Brittany Lomanno collided with Gulbrensen (10 saves) on a 50/50 ball that somehow found it's way slowly to the back of the Haverhill net.
Thursday night's tie, coupled with a Dracut loss, helps move the Hillies (currently in third place) closer to their goal of repeating as Merrimack Valley (Small) champs.
“We have the ability to beat every team we step on the field with,” Tarbox said. “Our goal is to win the league and make the tournament, if we beat Lowell (this upcoming Tuesday at 6 p.m.) we will be right back in it.”
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