By Jeremy Balan
After a slow start, Washington High School exploded for four goals in the second half en route to a 6-0 win over O’Connell in the AAA semifinals at Boxer Stadium on Wednesday.
The Eagles took a 2-0 lead into the half, behind goals from Molly Doyle and Gabriella Zink and withstood an early O’Connell surge in the second half before scoring four goals in 20 minutes to put the game well out of reach.
“We tired them out,” said Washington Head Coach Charles Brinton.”O’Connell has upset us in the playoffs in the past and they’ve been one of our toughest rivals. We know they’re a second-half team and they came out with their guns blazing but [our] girls were waiting for it.”
Zink led the Eagles with two goals and began the second half burst with a goal in the 52nd minute.
“She’s outstanding,” Brinton said of Zink. “She’s one of the best girls I’ve ever coached. This is her fourth year on the team and she has the best work ethic on the team.”
O’Connell, which has battled injuries all year, struggled to get anything going in the first half and besides the early surge in the second, largely did not threaten to score.
“I’ve never had a rash of injuries like this,” said O’Connell Head Coach Bob Gamino. “At one point we had 11 people out this season and we’ve been winning games by a hair. [Some girls] were not supposed to be playing, but it’s a playoff game. That’s the kind of heart they have.”
O’Connell stayed close in the first half mostly due to a standout performance from goalkeeper Amber Dominuez, who had 10 saves in the half.
“This is her first year playing and she’s been the backup keeper [all season],” Gamino said of Dominuez. “She’s been showing dedication in practice, so we gave her a shot and this is the best she’s ever played. The real players come up big in [important] games. They could have easily scored five, six or seven [goals] in the first half.”
With the win, Washington advances to play Lowell in the AAA final on Saturday.
Washington tied Lowell on April 15 and lost to the Cardinals on March 2, even though the win was later vacated because the Cardinals used an ineligible player.
“Lowell is a dominant force,” Brinton said. “They’ve shown us our place before, but this year I think we’ve got their number. If we can play the way we did in the second half [today], we have a really good shot at taking them down. I think they’ve won 12 championships in a row and I think it’s time for a change of the guard.”
W – 26th minute – Molly Doyle
W – 39th minute – Gabriella Zink, assist by Tasha Killmaier
W – 52nd minute – Zink, assist by Madeleine Armour
W – 58th minute – Armour
W – 63rd minute – Ava Biscoe
W – 72nd minute – Killmaier