IAC GIRLS SOCCER: WESTBROOK SCORES TWICE IN FIRST VARSITY GAME; WAVERLY EDGES GROTON, 2-1, IN SEASON OPENER (24 PHOTOS)
(2019-09-03)Valley Sports Report
GROTON "” Freshman Kennedy Westbrook made quite an impact in her first varsity game, scoring a pair of goals in Waverly's 2-1 season-opening win over Groton here Tuesday afternoon in a battle of last year's IAC girls soccer overall champions.
Both of Westbrook's goals came in the second half, off assists from junior Gabby Picco.
"In the first half, we tested out a lot of players in different positions and in different formations," said Waverly coach Tara Hogan. "In the second half, we found what worked."
"Moving Kennedy Westbrook up top alongside Gabby Picco, we were able to catch Groton's defenders off guard and create a lot of opportunities," she noted. "Gabby is phenomenal at finding her teammates and is incredibly unselfish. She easily found Kennedy for both goals.
"Kennedy's energy on the field is refreshing," added Hogan. "You can tell she wants to be everywhere and involved in every play."
Hogan said Groton got the better of the play in the first 40 minutes.
"Groton came out fast and were way more vocal than we were," she said. "Our first-game jitters were very evident in the first half.
"They were beating us to every ball and were way more aggressive," added Hogan.
After a scoreless first half, Picco set Westbrook up for her first goal 3 1/2 minutes into the second half.
The duo combined for Waverly's second goal midway through the half to extend the lead to 2-0.
About a minute later, Framke Vitale put Groton on the board, but the Lady Wolverine defense kept the Lady Indians out of the net for the final 19:15 to preserve the win.
Hogan was impressed by a first-time starter in Bella Romano and a pair of newcomers.
"Bella Romano responded very well to getting so much playing time today as a starting defender," she said. "I was very impressed with how well she stepped up.
"Paige Robinson played very well at the midfield, while Lea VanAllen was a strong force up top," said Hogan. "Robinson and VanAllen are 8th-graders, and both had great first varsity games, while being asked to play the entire 80 minutes."
Waverly had a 13-8 advantage in shots-on-goal, and both teams had one corner kick.
Waverly junior Kaitlyn Clark had seven saves in net.
Waverly returns to action Friday when it hosts Dryden.
IN PHOTO 1: Waverly's Gabby Picco. ... PHOTOS COURTESY OF TINA DADONNA.
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