Central Catholic Raiders Girls Soccer '17

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 12:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1st 2nd Final
Westford Academy 0 1 1
Central Catholic 0 0 0

Central Catholic stunned in North finals

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Saturday, November, 11 By Kyle Gaudette

WOBURN - Westford Academy just needed one shot on goal to stun top-seeded, defending state champion Central Catholic, the No. 5 ranked team in the country by topdrawersoccer.com, in the Division 1 North finals.

Luckily for the Grey Ghosts, that is all they got.

Off a controversial corner kick midway through the second half, the ball found it's way to Westford's Katherine Pawlak who registered her team's only shot on goal the entire game. But it found the back of the net, and it eventually gave No. 2 Westford a 1-0 victory and a Division 1 North sectional championship.

Central had its opportunity to clear the corner and didn't, but it was a kick that probably never should have happened. A ball played into the left corner of the Central zone was cleared out of bounds by a defender a good five yards in front of the end-line for what should have been a throw-in. But after some deliberation by the officials, Westford was awarded a corner.

The rest is history.

"Apparently it went out (of the end-line) before, and (the main ref) didn't see the flag go up," said Central coach Casey Grange. "It's unfortunate that they scored off of that specific corner, but at the end of the day you have to clear out the corner."

Central (18-1-1) got a great opportunity for the equalizer as time was winding down, but Westford goalie Emma O'Sullivan, who recorded her 11th shutout of the season, made a tremendous, diving save. The Raiders did get a last-second corner, but their final shot clanked off the crossbar. 

Central backs Caroline Sullivan, Natalia Clark and Layal Khartabil did a tremendous keeping goalie Mary Gerard without a shot coming her way for 79 minutes. But Westford's defense deserve immense credit for keeping Central, which had outscored opponents 112-17 all season, off the board.

"Give their defense credit," said Grange. "They've been solid all season. We had our chances. But at the end of the day you have to hand it to Westford, and I couldn't be more proud of my team."

While the loss is a tough one to swallow, Central wraps up another great season. Over the past three years, the Raiders have gone 57-2-2, including an undefeated state championship run last fall. 

Central will graduate an immensely talented senior class, including the "Big 3" of Elayna Grillakis (Providence), Ashley Rapheal (Boston University) and Caitlin Reagan (Stonehill).

"Our seniors have been an unbelievable group," said Grange. "They're leaders, so coachable and nobody has a negative attitude no matter what. We're certainly going to miss our senior class.

"It's the end of an era for us."


Westford 1, Central 0

Div. 1 North Final

Goals: Katherine Pawlak

Saves: CC - Mary Gerard 0; W - Emma O'Sullivan 7

Westford Academy (16-1-2):     0 1 - 1

Central Catholic (18-1-1):     0 0 - 0


Game Statistics:

Goals: Katherine Pawlak

Saves: CC — Mary Gerard 0; W — Emma O'Sullivan 7

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