Unfortunately for the Tigers, it was the lone goal of the Division 2 state championship game.
OA’s impressive season came to a close with a 1-0 loss to Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon.
“We had four great games in a row and today we didn’t play our best, but that’s life and that’s soccer,” said longtime Oliver Ames head coach Britt Sellmayer. “You have to tip your hat to them. Everyone talks about Shea Kelleher, and how great she is, and she was today, but I think what gets overlooked is how great their back four is. Our front three is pretty good and their back four won the day, both halves. We generated some corner kicks but we didn’t generate any crosses into the area. They had some great players in the back that really shut us down.”
The Tigers rolled to a 4-0 win over Ludlow to start the postseason run and followed with a 3-0 decision over league rival Stoughton. After edging out Duxbury in the quarterfinals, the Tigers had a thrilling double overtime win over Grafton to reach the state championship game.
But this time out, Oliver Ames just couldn’t find its footing in the attack. They were limited on their through balls as Silver Lake’s center back combo did well to clear everything. The Tigers couldn’t get much going on the outside either. OA has had success getting down the wings and finding a target in the middle, but didn’t create many of those opportunities either.
“We also had an off day but that’s life,” Sellmayer said. “It’s a learning experience for our team. We’re young and we have a lot of players coming back, a lot to look forward to. Hanging around for 28 years, you keep things in perspective. Would it have been great to win? Yeah, but it was also great to be here. There’s a lot of teams that want to be here and we were.”
OA’s best two chances in the opening half were on corner kicks, but both of them were dealt with by Silver Lake keeper Abbey Cook.
Although OA keeper Janiya Matier was a bit busier, she wasn’t seriously tested much either, thanks to a strong defensive effort from the Tigers’ back four of Catie Wilson, Sophia Byron, Taylor deVos, and Molly Capece.
It was more of the same in the second half as Silver Lake continued to dictate play, but couldn’t get much through the back four, and when they did, Matier was there off her line. Senior Mary Cross also had a strong game in center mid, thwarting a handful of chances up the middle of the pitch.
“Sophia Byron and Taylor deVos did an outstanding job, Catie Wilson had a great game and has come a long way, and Molly Capece too,” Sellmayer said. “We made one mistake. I always talk about a great soccer game being 2-1…we didn’t get our two but they got their one.”
The Lakers finally broke the deadlock just past the midway point of the second half. Julia Lawrence connected with Grace Flaherty, and she played it wide for Cassidy Conroy. A service into the area dropped between the defense and the keeper, and Silver Lake freshman Avery DePaul raced to the ball first, touching around the keeper and firing a shot into the far post.
OA tried to mount a comeback in the final minutes with Lucinda Li Cotter, Emma Gavin, Jenna Gilman, and Carly Gibson all trying to find a shot but the Tigers couldn’t register a final chance at an equalizer.
“This was a great season and it’s all about keeping in perspective,” Sellmayer said. “We beat some very good teams in the playoffs and we only gave up one goal in a five-game run, we just gave it up in the wrong game.”
Oliver Ames girls soccer finishes the season at 16-4-1.