Lauren Berman has been an offensive force for the Canton girls’ soccer team since she made varsity as a freshman four years ago. However, this season she’s taken her game to another level.
The senior striker has tallied 40 goals in 16 games — 2.5 goals per game — and has the fourth-ranked Bulldogs (14-1-1) on a 12-game winning streak.
“Every time the ball gets anywhere near Lauren, you can hear teams yelling ‘double her, double her,’ ” said Canton coach Paul Turner, who has seen all the extra defensive attention frustrate his leading scorer from time to time.
“When I can see that she’s getting upset, I try to remind her that she just needs to stay patient and confident because no team can shut her down for a full 80 minutes,” he said.
Earlier this season, Berman passed Danielle Haigh (136 career points) to become the Canton girls’ all-time leading scorer. With one game remaining, she has 130 career goals and 33 assists (163 points).
Even when Berman hasn’t scored, she’s still been able to create offense for the Bulldogs (who average 4.6 goals per game) thanks to the presence of talented forwards Meg Lennon (11 goals, 10 assists) and Bri Duserick (18 assists, eight goals), who are largely responsible for her 11 assists this season.
“The three of them attacking together are fun to watch,” said Turner. “We’re not always clicking, but when we do we play with a lot of energy and are exciting to watch. I’d hate to play against us because if you put all your attention on Lauren then Bri or Meg will make you pay.”
If the Bulldogs had a weakness entering the season, it was that they’d been so successful that they often lost focus.
One instance came in the third game of the season, when Franklin handed them a humbling 5-2 defeat.
“After Franklin jumped all over us, I think it brought us back down to earth,” said Turner. “It reminded us that we couldn’t take games for granted. I think they all thought we were unbeatable.”
Two games later the Bulldogs responded with their best performance of the season, thrashing rival Oliver Ames, 7-0.
After that win, Turner began to believe that this year’s team might be just as strong as last year’s, which made a run to the Division 2 state finals.
“In a way that loss to Franklin was good for us,” he said. “I’d like to play [Franklin] again because I think we’re just as talented, but now whenever we get complacent, I use that game as motivation to keep the girls focused.”
Since the win over Oliver Ames Sept. 20, the Bulldogs have gone about their business, outscoring their last 12 opponents, 63-6, on their way to a second consecutive Hockomock League (Davenport) title.
“Our main goal was to win the league,” said Turner. “Now we’re shifting our focus towards the tournament. We’re getting exciting as we get closer and closer. I can’t wait to see who we’re going to get matched up against.”
Turner mentioned that he wouldn’t mind a tournament draw that avoided Medfield (15-0-3), Scituate (14-1-1), and Cardinal Spellman (18-0-1), but was also clear that he’s not afraid of any team.
“There’s no team I’m scared of,” said Turner. “There’s a few that could beat us if we don’t come to play, but we’re definitely confident going in.”Seth Lakso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @sethlakso