Meehan's four goals spark Montville past Waterford in ECC girls' soccer
Montville — Montville played with some extra zip in its step on Wednesday.
Coming off consecutive losses to Weston and Woodstock to open the regular season, the Indians possessed a sense of urgency.
Facing Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II girls' soccer rival Waterford also brought out the beast in Montville, which posted an impressive 4-0 victory.
"They were much more calm and played together as a team, moved the ball together as a team," said Montville coach Matt Beaupre, comparing his team's play to the previous two games. "That's what really helped us.
" ... And Waterford is traditionally a really good team. Hats off to them, they played a good game. We were ready for the win. Those two losses that we had, we needed to redeem ourselves and we came out with a little extra pep and that really helped."
The Indians (1-2, 1-1) had an edge in experience and speed over the Lancers. They also had lethal weapon Olivia Meehan on their side. Meehan, a junior forward/midfielder, accounted for all four goals.
"We ended up coming out and playing really well, so I'm really proud of the team," Meehan said. "And that really gave me the drive. We were working really well, so I wanted to put it away for them."
The Lancers (1-2, 0-2) are incorporating some underclassmen into their rotation. They struggled to connect at times and misfired on good scoring chances. They also were dealing with some adversity on Wednesday.
"We had a little sickness and a couple of injuries," Waterford coach Chris Ghiglia said. "We're kind of young this year, so we're trying to build. ... Right now, it's just a learning process. It's hard to lose to a rival like Montville."
Montville turned in a strong all-around game. The Indians patiently worked the ball through the middle with sharp combination play and then used their speed up front to get behind the defense.
Meehan was a pest. She benefitted from sharp set-ups from her teammates. And while junior midfielder Michaela MacCracken didn't have an assist, she was a major factor in the Indians controlling play.
It was Meehan's first four-goal game of her career. She finished with six shots.
"That's a first," Meehan said. "I'm very glad. I've always shot a lot but I couldn't always finish it. I finished it pretty well today, so I really surprised myself."
Her two first-half goals came off assists from defenders. She collected a long ball from senior Catherine Furman and chipped a shot over goalie Skyler Henry for a 1-0 lead with 24:40 left in the first half.
About three minutes later, Meehan struck again. This time, defender Amanda Perkins made a daring run from the back and slide an accurate pass to Meehan who fired a hard shot just inside the near post.
Meehan curled in a beautiful shot from the left side to make it 3-0 about nine minutes into the second half. Junior Kara Beaupre had the assist.
Her fourth goal came off a breakaway that started with Meehan stealing the ball off the foot of a defender.
"She played at a high level," Ghiglia said of Meehan. "They did some combination play in midfield and some of their finishing was very good. Any little mistake we made in the back, they capitalized, which is a sign of good players."
Defensively, Furman, Perkins and fellow seniors Jenna Banta and Jessica Stronach formed a tight back four and smartly covered from one another. Junior goalie Lauren Ross made five saves to earn the shutout.
"They know each other really well," Matt Beaupre said of his defense. "They've been playing together even before high school, so that really helps. ... They really complement each other on the back line."
Montville hopes Wednesday's win is a sign of things to come.
"I think we can go far this year," Meehan said. "We're all working very hard."
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