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Nipmuc Girls Soccer Dominates DVC

Dominance might not be a strong enough word to describe the performance of the Nipmuc Girls soccer team this season. The Warriors are 18-1-1 after Monday's opening round sectional tournament victory, and have allowed just six goals on the season. Head coach Howard Cohen's veteran lineup has produced on both ends of the field on a consistent basis. "We have 12 seniors and they are all playing a big role," he said. "We expected big things, but I am not sure even we expected the results we have had."
The only blemish on Nipmuc's ledger is a 3-2 loss at Wachuset back in mid-September. The Warriors let a 2-0 halftime lead slip away, and gave up half the total goals they would allow all season. They have not given up a goal since a 1-1 tie at Algonquin on October 11.
That's seven consecutive shutouts. Seven straight wins, during which Nipmuc has outscored opponents 27-0. The most recent triumph came Monday as the Warriors blanked Oakmont 4-0 behind two goals from Gabrielle Carreiro and two more from Sarah MacDougall. "Sarah has scored some crucial goals for us and that's been a big lift for us," Cohen said.
Amanda St. Germain pitched yet another shutout in net. On the season, junior is averaging around one-third of a goal allowed per game. "Amanda has been really, really steady in net, and I don't think she always gets the acclaim she deserves," Cohen said. "There are games where she doesn't have to touch the ball all that much because the defense in front of her is so strong. But she is so skilled we are able to use her as an extra defender. We have a lot of confidence in her ability."
Cohen's defensive system employs two midfielders in front of three defenders. Erika Scott and Jenna Fitzgerald have been steady in the defensive midfield spots. Fellow seniors Meg Elliot and Nicole Murphy and Angelica Puchovsky made up a solid back line in front of St. Germain. "There is a lot of experience in that group, they are really the key to our defense," Cohen said.
The offense has been lead by Carreiro, who has 18 goals despite missing time during the year to train with the United States U-20 women's national team. Junior Kiley Laroque has added a dozen goals on the season as a striker along side Carreiro.
Not surprisingly, the team success of the Warriors this season has been accompanied by quite a bit of individual acclaim. Carreiro and Scott were both All-State selections. The duo are also Central Mass All-Stars, as are Fitzgerald, Laroque, and St. Germain. And all five earned Dual Valley League All-Star recognition along with Murphy.
Nipmuc has played, and beaten, many of the top teams in the district. Cohen knows the expectations are high as his team begins its run through the tournament. "Everyone will be disappointed if we are not Central Mass champions, but we are playing it one game at a time," he said. "We will let it fly and see how it goes."




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