Injury plagued Nazareth keeps rolling
Updated: May 25, 2011 8:44PM
Nazareth lost its best player, Patricia Masterson, to a torn ACL, its starting goalie, MaryKate Halm, to a fractured finger and its head coach, John Nikchevich, to heart-valve replacement surgery.
But none of that has prevented the Roadrunners from dominating their competition in the Class 2A playoffs. Megan Tobin scored three goals and Katie Driscoll and Gianna Milaro both added a goal and an assist as Nazareth routed U-High 6-0 on Wednesday at the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional semifinals.
“We try not to let it affect us that much,” Tobin said of the adversity. “We just kept working.”
The Roadrunners (16-5-2) went to work right from the start and finished with 33 shots. If not for the brilliant play of U-High senior goalie Fraser Brown, the Maroons (10-12-2) easily could have been down seven or eight goals at the half. Brown, a converted field player who has only been playing between the pipes for 2 ½ years, made 17 saves.
But even Brown could not keep Tobin at bay. Tobin opened the scoring with 30:15 left in the first half on a play that epitomized the kind of pressure the Roadrunners applied throughout.
A Tobin volley was saved around the right post by Brown. On the ensuing corner kick, Dana Hillsman hit the crossbar with a shot in the box and Tobin buried the rebound.
Tobin struck again 20 minutes later when she finished an open shot in the box after Milaro threaded a perfect lead pass through the defense.
The sophomore completed her hat trick midway through the second half on a similar play. This time Driscoll found her in stride with a brilliant serve up the middle for another easy finish and a 4-0 lead.
“I think we just passed really well together and just knew that we had to finish,” said Driscoll, who had made it 3-0 seven minutes after halftime when she received a pass from Nina Peconio, dribbled around a defender and beat Brown with a short shot. “We knew where each other was and everybody did a good job of seeing where to hit the ball for the forwards to run onto it.”
Maggie McKenna and Milaro added insurance goals in the final six minutes for Nazareth, while junior goalie Isabella Fiermonte made two saves to record the shutout.
“They’re a good group of kids,” said acting Nazareth coach Doug Hunt, who took over for Nikchevich two weeks ago. “They play hard and they play with enthusiasm.”