Watertown’s Cinderella run in the MIAA North Section girls' soccer tournament was cut short by Saint Mary’s Thursday night at Woburn High School. St. Mary’s capitalized on a penalty shot with six minutes to play and hung on for the 3-2 victory.
The 19th seeded Raiders may have been the underdogs during their first three postseason games but it never fazed them and Watertown looked poised to make it an improbable four straight upset wins on Thursday.
Down 1-0 in the first 10 minutes, sophomore Grace McElroy Howard and the Raiders had an opportunity to put some pressure on the Spartans with a corner kick. Amazingly, Howard scored from the corner despite the extremely difficult angle.
Now up 2-1 late in the first half, the Raiders needed to take some pressure off of their keeper, junior Brenna McDonald.
St. Mary’s was determined to even the score. Sophomore midfielder Michaela St. Cyr was sprinting towards the box when she received a cross that she buried into the net to make it 2-2.
In the second half, with a little more than 32 minutes to play, Howard was set to take a free kick near the right sideline from approximately 30 yards away from the net (the penalty box is 18 yards long). Her shot went past the dive of freshman keeper Katie Donnolly and hit the left post. The ball started gliding along the goal line.
Many Watertown fans and some players thought the ball completely crossed the line but the referee signaled no goal and Donnolly scooped up the ball and sent it down to her offense.
With a little more than six minutes to play before overtime, St. Mary's junior midfielder Maggie Carey was tripped in the box. Carey and the Spartans capitalized on the penalty shot and held on to the 3-2 win.
St. Mary’s coach, Jim Foley, said he was proud of his entire team but in particular with Donnolly, who was replacing the team’s captain, senior keeper Bailey Bruckmann, who was out with an injury.
“It was a hard fought game,” Foley said. “We’re both young teams that play physical soccer."
The Raiders’ supporters applauded their team for its performance in this game and throughout the season.
Coach Kaz Keuchkarian said he was “absolutely proud” of his team.
“We said we would leave it all on the field,” Keuchkarian said. “We have no regrets. St. Mary’s is a good team.”