Brockton prevails in Big Three test

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- The wind gusted out of the southwest. And, anywhere the wind blew, the ball followed so.

Ultimately Tuesday's breezes blew Brockton's way as the No. 8 Boxers beat No. 5 New Bedford 4-2.

“It was kind of a weird one,” New Bedford girls’ soccer coach Joe Gill said. “I don’t think either team was really able to play their game as they’d like to. I thought once we got to the second half we’d be all set.”

With the wind at its back, Brockton jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Whalers in the first half.

When New Bedford returned to the pitch and attacked the east goal at Paul Walsh Field in the second half, the difference was clear. Shelby Friedland struck in the second minute of the second half on a goal assisted by Samantha Bucknell and it looked as though the Whalers were back in it.

And while the gales continued to whistle at New Bedford’s back, the Whalers wouldn’t gain any added momentum as the Boxers posted their second win in Big Three play.

“We’re really more of a possession-oriented team and the wind conditions made it difficult to do that throughout,” Boxers coach Andrea Tassinari said. “But I was happy with the way our girls battled through it.”

The Boxers (6-0-0) ran out to their early lead on unassisted goals by junior Morgan Branco in the fourth and 30th minutes. Branco, who now has nine markers on the season, helped Brockton set up shop in front of Whalers goalkeeper Alexandra Medeiros. The Boxers held possession for long stretches of the first half and outshot New Bedford 8-1.

The Whalers didn’t place their first shot on goal until the 25th minute.

At the start of the second half, New Bedford (8-1-0, 0-1-0) picked up on the attack.

“Once we got that first goal to start the half, I thought, ‘Here we go,’” Gill said. “But we were never really able to sustain pressure after that.”

Brockton accomplished its top priority in bottling up Whalers senior forward Alyssa Roach, who was held to one scoring chance. It was a quality chance, however, and Roach nearly tied the game when she blasted a shot from the top of the box off the cross bar in the minute following Friedland’s goal.

About a minute after Roach’s opportunity, Tori Hancock knocked in the third Boxer goal on a second-chance play off of a shot directed toward goal by midfielder Kaylee Khang.

Amy Yang tallied the fourth Brockton marker in the 57th minute, after Bucknell had cut the Boxer lead to one off a corner kick in the 51st minute.

Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Sever made six saves to earn the win.

“We know we needed to shut [Roach] down,” Tassinari said, “and I thought Amy [Yang] and Kaylee [Khang] did a great job in the midfield limiting her opportunities.”