The Hopkinton High School girls soccer team experienced some changes at the start of the season, but the Hillers were able to adapt and secure positive results in nearly every match through the month of October and earn a spot in the sectional tournament.
“Overall it’s been a very good, successful year; it’s my best season with the team,” said head coach Wayne Sygrove. “We went into the season and changed the formation, the style of play and the culture within the team. We started off a little slowly as you typically do when there is a lot of change, but we improved across the board and it was nice to secure the playoffs.”
Hopkinton went into its first round playoff game at Scituate 9-3-6 on the year and with one of the strongest defensive units in the area. The Hillers allowed just seven goals the entire season behind senior goalkeeper Natalie Calkins and a quartet of talented players in the backfield – sophomore Riley Delaney, junior Olivia O’Connor, junior Alexis Hasbrouck and senior captain Maya Zent.
“The back four in general defended well,” Sygrove said. “Conceding seven goals in 18 games is really good and allowed us to get some positive results.”
Senior captain Sydney Macdonald also put together an excellent final season with the team, her coach said.
“It doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet with the goals and assists,” Sygrove said, “but her physical presence and finesse in the middle with the ball, defensively covering a lot of ground and doing the city work in the midfield really anchored our game.”
Hopkinton benefitted from several players offensively and was able to keep teams guessing with a variety of potential weapons. Allison Bird, a junior, along with senior Gabrielle Weilding and junior Delaney Mick finished fairly close to one another in both goals and points.
“We spread it around across all three forwards,” Sygrove said. “We had a good team concept with our offense.”
Hopkinton wrapped up qualifying for the tournament with a home win over Dover-Sherborn on senior night and with several games left in the regular season to continue to work on fine tuning for the playoffs. The Hillers excelled against tough competition, earning a tie against last year’s state finalist Medway, beating and tying Medfield, and handing Holliston its only loss of the regular season.
“We did very well against the top teams,” Sygrove said. “Ultimately we are going into the postseason in a good frame of mind and excited for the challenge.”