Girls’ soccer narrowly defeated in state championship

Ava Arcona, Ellie O’Connor, and Grace Bouzan

After an immense effort and undefeated regular season, the girls’ varsity soccer team lost 1-0 to Hingham High School in the Division I State Finals on Nov. 19.

The game remained competitive throughout, with both teams making impressive plays, including Hingham’s goal in the first half. Algonquin maintained possession for much of the second half, increasing their offense and making several attempts at the goal before time ran out. A large student section filled the bleachers of Walpole High School to cheer on the Titans as they vied for the state title.

The team ended the season with an overall record of 16-2-6 and was led by senior captains Mia Lochhead and Sadie Candela. Despite the outcome of the match, they were proud of their team’s performance in their last game together.

“I think we played our style of soccer very well,” Candela said. “We had a lot of possession, and even though we couldn’t get [the ball] in the back of the net, our goalie, [senior] Keely Scott, made some amazing saves.”

Scott, who blocked two Hingham shots in the second half, believes that the team’s success this season is directly tied to their love of the game.

“There’s a lot of pressure to be the best and compete the best… but one thing that I try to apply to my game is just having fun,” Scott said. “I don’t really think that you’re able to play well if you’re not having fun.”

Throughout the season, the team has focused on strategy and how to adapt to their opponents’ style while playing to their own strengths. Coach John Frederick prepared his athletes for the state championship with individualized game plans.

“We talked a lot about our shape and how we wanted to defend against certain players,” Frederick said. “In the end, it was just about us being us, sharpening up our skill set and making sure we were ready to go.” 

Senior Katie Cullen prepared for the state match by observing the rival offense, in order to better understand how they function and what to expect.

“The night before, I watched the last game [Hingham] played online because Hingham has a really good [player],” Cullen said. “Since I’m a center defender, I was going to be on her. I watched the way she played, and was able to prepare and realize what she does as a player.”

On their road to the State Finals, the No. 4 ranked Titans defeated Durfee and Framingham before a 3-0 quarterfinal win against No. 5 Newton South and a 2-1 win over No. 9 Wellesley in the Div. I State Semifinals on Nov. 16.

Frederick is proud that his team played their best and enjoyed themselves in the process.

“All season long, it’s been a massive priority to remind ourselves why we play the sport,” Frederick said. “Sports are supposed to be fun, and I think sometimes that gets lost when there’s too much focus on results and winning or losing.”

Frederick has no regrets about this season and will miss the good times they had together as a team.

“There were some hiccups along the way, but I’ve been coaching for 30 years, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun coaching a team,” Frederick said.