By Josh Levine
Behind a hat trick from sophomore Mikela Waldman, Lowell High School’s girls soccer team cruised to a 4-0 win over Lincoln in the Academic Athletic Association semifinals on Wednesday at Boxer Stadium.
Waldman’s goals came in the 41st, 53rd and 59th minutes and senior Alejandra Sanchez added another goal in the 47th minute on an assist from Zoe Charter-Kuo.
The potent Lowell offense took 34 shots in the game, including 22 on goal. The Cardinals’ defense was equally as strong and didn’t allow the Mustangs (8-3-4) to take a single shot on goal and only allowed them to cross midfield twice in the first half.
But the the Cardinals (19-2-2) were held scoreless in the first half for the first time in AAA play this season, despite 10 shots on goal.
“We had trouble finishing, especially in the first half, but their goalkeeper did an amazing job and we were not ready for that,” Waldman said. “Give Lincoln credit though. They played well, but it was great when we finally found the back of the net.”
With the Mustangs’ normal starting goalkeeper unable to play, Lincoln captain Kelly Graber stepped in to guard the net and had 15 saves in 58 minutes. Graber swapped with fellow defensive player Roci Dallila Cruz in the 58th minute after allowing three second-half goals.
“It was really crazy out there, but I couldn’t have done it without my defense,” Graber said. “When I found out [our starting goalkeeper wasn’t playing], I wasn’t very happy because I don’t like being a keeper.”
Lowell advances to the championship game to face Washington on Saturday, and several Eagles players and coaches were in the stands to watch their opponent on Wednesday.
“I like Washington and I respect their program, and I like [Washington head coach] Charlie Brinton,” said Lowell head coach Marcos Estebez. “I’m happy for him to be here. On this field, it is all about space and creating a mismatch out there because [it] is so wide. The center midfielder position is going to be huge and we need a big game from our freshman Mikki Okamoto.”