Granby girls soccer moves up, ties Division 1 Ludlow 2-2
LUDLOW — The Granby girls soccer team’s run at a perfect season ended on Tuesday night, but the result may have been the Rams’ most impressive this season.
Facing a Division 1 opponent for the first time in coach Nick Boorman’s four-year tenure, Granby rallied twice from a goal down for a 2-2 draw against Ludlow.
“Two very good teams out here, and I’m really proud of how my girls played,” Boorman said. “It took us a long time to get used to their pace, but once we did we played right with them. There’s no doubt about our perseverance and winning attitude.”
The Rams (10-0-1) trailed for the first time all season in the first minute of the match, then fell behind ahead late in the half.
“The deeper we get into the season, the tougher it is to win and the games become more physical,” senior midfielder Kiley Baran said. “So games like this will get us ready for the tournament. And it’s great to show that we’ll never give up. We’re here to play the whole game.”
Granby evened it up with just under 22 minutes remaining in regulation. Awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out, Baran rifled one to the upper-right corner for the equalizer.
“I always look to get the ball on the frame (of the goal), and if the goalie gets a touch I know my teammates will be there for a rebound chance,” Baran said. “But if I can put it in myself, that’s great.”
Keeper Brittany Hauschild, who made 10 saves, played a very active game in the box to thwart a number of opportunities for Ludlow (4-2-3).
“Our whole team fought, it was probably our best effort of the season,” Hauschild said. “In those final minutes, I kept thinking that we can’t let in another goal. Our defense really stepped up all night, and we improved a lot during this game.”
Freshman sensation Erin Mikalchus continued her scoring streak with a tally late in the first half. She now has 18 goals and 22 points to lead the team.
In the final five minutes of the half, Baran lofted a ball that hit Mikalchus in stride to the left. With a step on the defender, she delivered a shot just inside the far post to tie it 1-1.
“Erin’s a great player and we know she can finish,” Baran said. “On the pass, I wanted to keep it away from the keeper and she launched it.”
Boorman said, “Kiley gave Erin a nice through ball which Erin could run on, but that goal doesn’t happen without our defense, which made two huge stops right before. That was a team goal.”
The Rams defense stood tall against a talented and disciplined Ludlow attack. The Lions pushed for the game winner in the final 10 minutes, and Kelsey Jordan put one off the bar with 1:30 to go.
Giavanni Colaccino and Alyssa Martins scored for Ludlow, with assists going to Cayla Mole and Jennifer Hackett.
Senior Alexis Ouellette led a young back line which has now given up only four tallies on the season. She broke up a strong scoring chance with nine minutes left in the first half.
“We won the second half, which is what we wanted to do,” Boorman said. “Now that we’ve played a game at this pace, I think we can play at that level the rest of the season. When I talked to my athletic director about scheduling games, we wanted to play games that will get us prepared for the tournament.”
With one Division 1 challenge in the books, Granby moves on to face Belchertown (11-0) Saturday at 2 p.m.
“We’re coming out strong for that one, and every single player needs to bring her A-game if we want to win,” Baran said. “But this (Ludlow) game gives us the confidence and motivation that we can play at that level.”
Michael Wilkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.