Needham’s only loss came against its rival Natick in just the second game this season. In fact, the only time the Rockets let up multiple goals in one game was against the No. 4 seed.
Needham got its revenge Tuesday with a 2-0 win against the Red and Blue in Natick, propelling the Rockets to the semifinals of the Division 1 South MIAA state tournament.
“It was just a tremendous battle on both sides,” Needham coach Carl Tarabelli said.
So much of a battle that the game was deadlocked until senior captain Kira Oberle scored the go-ahead goal for the No. 5 seed with 17 minutes left in the game. However, the moment of relief was quickly followed with a moment of near panic.
Junior Natalie Wong Jr., who had been guarding one of Natick’s best players in Haley Reddish, went down with an injury right after Oberle’s goal.
Natick noticed the hole in the defense and put the pressure on, forcing Tarabelli to make a huge adjustment; he put Oberle on defense to stick with Reddish.
“She’s an amazing athlete,” Tarabelli said. “She’s a natural competitor and a tremendous leader.”
With the help of junior goalkeeper Emily Bowers, Oberle and company shut down the Red and Blue.
Needham got an insurance goal from sophomore Rachel Kingston late in the second half.
Needham will play No. 1 Franklin at Medway High School Thursday at 7:15.
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