WEYMOUTH, Mass. — It was apparent how much attention Peabody’s Hayley Dowd was going to get from the Oliver Ames' defense once the clock started to tick in the Div. 1 state semi-finals last night at Weymouth High.
For the majority of the game, the Tigers battered, bruised and smothered Dowd with a number of defense players and defensive looks to keep her off the scoreboard.
Sometimes great players just find ways to make their presence felt.
Dowd notched the game-tying goal and played a big part in Victoria Digiacomo’s game-winning goal in the first overtime as Peabody (21-0-2) advanced to the state finals with a 2-1 victory over Oliver Ames (17-3-3).
“When I have my chances I try to take it, and I think that’s what we did tonight,” said Dowd. “They are a good, tough team and it was one of the better teams we played this year. They were very physical.”
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead on the foot of Kristina Simonson in the 28th minute off a feed from Emily Grotz.
Dowd got her opportunity to finally break free of coverage early in the second half when she potted the game-tying goal in the 44 th minute for the Tanners.
Digiacomo and Dowd worked well up front against the Tigers back line with several scoring opportunities, but a little bit of over anxiousness saw those plays whistled for offside infractions.
In the opening minutes of the first extra session, the combo connected when Dowd sent a shot on goal and somehow it got through the Tigers defense to the waiting foot of Digiacomo to end the game 2:33 into the period.
“I’ve had a copule of those this year where I just see the net and I’m like ‘you aren’t going to score if you don’t get it on net,’” said Dowd. “I figured I’d get the ball on net and see what happens. Victoria made a great run into the net to get there right before the goalie.”
Added Digiacomo: “It squirted through and then it was me and the goalie. I got one step ahead of her and I poked it in. I didn’t even see it go in until she was on the ground.”
There was a game within the game on the pitch last night with Dowd and Tigers’ defender Clarissa Romero. The Tigers’ coaches had Romero stay with Dowd every step of the way, and in some instances bodies were flying all over the field in an intense, physical one-on-one matchup.
“She was outsanding,” Tigers coach Britt Sellmayer said of Romero’s effort. “She’ playing with a fractured nose and to go toe-to-toe with the premier player in Massachusetts, she did a great job.”
Dowd, who was taken to the turf on several occasions on rushes towards the net, said she was happy to play physical and she welcomed the challenge from a tough-minded Tigers’ back line.
“We played physical and we were going back-and-forth,” said Dowd. “I’m not mad at her and she’s not mad at me. That’s the way it is.”