RICHMOND’S DESTINY ANAIR (1) controls the ball in front of Ashland’s Jamie Poulin (3) during the State Class D high school girls soccer championship game at Hampden Academy on Saturday. Anair had two assists in Richmond’s 2-1 victory.

RICHMOND’S DESTINY ANAIR (1) controls the ball in front of Ashland’s Jamie Poulin (3) during the State Class D high school girls soccer championship game at Hampden Academy on Saturday. Anair had two assists in Richmond’s 2-1 victory.

HAMPDEN

In a familiar scene on Saturday evening at Hampden Academy, the girls soccer State Class D Finals pitted the northern champ Ashland against the southern champ Richmond for the fourth consecutive year.

With Ashland taking the title in 2014 and again last year, it all but seemed ripe for the Bobcats to bring him the Gold Ball this year.

That they did, holding off a late Hornet surge to win the state championship with a 2-1 victory, capping off an amazing run to finish the season.

Richmond’s game plan followed what it has done all season — attack on offense when the Bobcats had the chance, then rely on the defense and senior goaltender Sydney Underhill- Tilton to shut it down from there.

“I thought this game kind of typified our season in that we played stingy defense and opportunistic offense,” said Kendrick. “This was our season in a nut-shell. Attack early and tighten our defense.”

Richmond struck at the 23-minute mark, taking its first shot of the contest when Caitlin Kendrick scored off a Destiny Anair assist. The senior tri-captain crossed a ball into the 18- yard box where it fell into traffic. Once Kendrick saw the ball at her feet, the junior booted it past Ashland goalie Megan Cote for the 1-0 lead.

“I saw Destiny’s cross and it skimmed Bryannah’s (Shea) head and landed at my feet,” said tri-captain Caitlin Kendrick. “Once there, I knew I could put it past her (Cote).”

Despite the goal, Ashland was the team putting constant pressure on the Richmond defense. The Hornets put 11 shots towards the cage in the opening half, eight on net, with Underhill- Tilton stopping them all.

“It’s what we’ve done all year, make the big plays, talk on defense and pick one another up,” said the senior goalkeeper.

While most of the action was taking place in their defensive zone, the Bobcats made the most of their shots in the first half, only getting two off against the Hornets defense.

Thirty-two minutes into the game, Anair was once again doing what she had done all season. She took on her defender one-on-one, using quick footwork to cross yet another pass. This time, the ball was mishandled in front and Shea punched it in for the 2-0 lead.

“That second goal was big for us,” said Anair. “We knew that meant they needed three goals and that helped us relax.”

Maybe not relax as much as it got the team to sit back and play defense.

“When you get a lead, the girls just want to sit back and defend,” said Troy Kendrick. “We wanted to be smart and keep plenty of people behind the ball, but we also told the girls to move up and get forward.”

That worked for Richmond to begin the half, keeping the Ashland scorers away from the net for the first half of the final frame.

Just under 22 minutes in, Ashland stepped up its pressure, but Emma Carbone, Bryanne Lancaster and Underhill-Tilton kept the Hornets at bay.

A save by the Richmond keeper at the 68-minute mark preserved the shutout and put Ashland on its heels.

However, with 3:17 remaining, Morgan Doughty sprinted through the Richmond defense, one timing an Amber Chasse throughball, drilling it past a diving Underhill-Tilton to cut the lead to 2-1.

Underhill-Tilton gathered her team after the goal, looked at everyone and told them to stay cool and relaxed.

“Coach always says ‘keep your mind between the lines’ and we did that,” said the Richmond keeper.

“She’s a team leader out on the field, she takes control of the game from back there,” added her coach.

The defense remained strong, turning away another late Ashland threat to capture the title.

“It’s been back and forth with Ashland since my freshman year, so this is a great way to end it,” said Anair in between “photo-ops” with the new hardware.

The Bobcats finished the year 10-0-2 in their final 12 games, ending the season at 13-3-2.

“I couldn’t be more happier for these girls,” added Troy Kendrick.

Richmond 2,
Ashland 1

State Class D Girls Soccer Final
Saturday at Hampden Academy
Richmond 2 0 — 2
Ashland 0 1 — 1
Goals — (R) Caitlin Kendrick, Bryannah Shea; (A) Morgan Doughty.
Assists — (R) Destiny Anair 2; (A)
Amber Chasse.
Shots — Ashland 17, Richmond 7.
Saves — (R) Sydney Underhill-Tilton
9, (A) Megan Cote 3.
Corners — Ashland 7, Richmond 3.
Records — Richmond 13-3-2, Ashland 16-2.


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