Girls Soccer: Benet blasts its way into supersectionals

Updated: May 26, 2012 5:33PM

Benet continued its relentless march through the Class 2A playoffs on Saturday, scoring on its first two shots en route to a 3-0 victory over Rosary in the Nazareth Sectional title game.

It was the eighth straight win and first sectional championship since 2005 for the Redwings (18-4-3), who will play on their home field when they face St. Francis in Tuesday’s Benedictine University Supersectional.

“I think you can see we have a pretty dynamic offense,” Benet coach Bob Gros said. “We definitely create offense and we come at you from every angle.”

Senior Rachel Lovely started the scoring when she ran up from her fullback position and drilled a 29-yard shot past Rosary goalie Lauren Frasca just 4:06 into the contest.

“That’s part of our offense,” Gros said. “We talk about it being multidimensional. We attack from the wings, we attack central, but we also attack from the back, especially Rachel. She’s a quality person that way.”

The contributions of defensive players like Lovely have been overlooked as Benet has outscored its three playoff opponents 24-0, but their attacking skills just add to an already deep team.

“We love to get our backs involved, like me and Rachel Pavlinec on the outside,” Lovely said. “So we always go over in practice that if you see that alley, just take a touch and if you feel like you have a shot, just rip it because we don’t get marked a lot being defenders, so it’s really dangerous when we go up there.”

Meaghan O’Hara scored on a partial breakaway in the 11th minute for Benet, which increased the lead to 3-0 when Jessica Smetana took a ball away from a Rosary defender and beat Frasca with a quick shot with 16:29 left in the first half.

The Redwings nearly scored on their first two shots of the second half as well, but shots from Catherine Caniglia and O’Hara just seconds apart both struck the crossbar. Benet outshot Rosary 27-1 and only the woodwork and the play of Frasca, who made eight saves, kept the score respectable.

“Frasca is always a big part of our success,” Rosary coach Kristy Kane said of the sophomore. “She’s a great goalie and she always does a great job back there.”

But it wasn’t enough to prevent Benet from ending Rosary’s best season ever. The Royals (18-6) were playing in the sectional final for the first time thanks to a 2-0 semifinal upset of previously unbeaten Nazareth.

“We just came off a big win and I think some of them were just happy to have won that game to a certain degree,” Kane said. “And I think there’s that intimidation factor because Benet was a stronger team.

“It stinks to lose, especially when you’re at the farthest point you’re team has ever gone, but at least we lost against a great team.”

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