Good passes set up a handful of goals.
DERRY — The Pinkerton Academy girls’ soccer team is still an experienced one in 2019 despite losing 10 seniors from last season’s squad.
That much was apparent in the Astros’ 5-0 Division I win over Winnacunnet of Hampton on Tuesday as they played with the kind of cohesion typical of a veteran team.
Pinkerton, with nine juniors on the roster, was impressive in the way it communicated and shared the ball with one another. Three Astros scored in the match, and every shot that found the back of the net drew an assist.
“It definitely was a team effort,” said Pinkerton coach Danielle Rappa, whose team is 2-1. “Our team this year is kind of really coming together and they’re doing a good job of talking on the field. After the first game we’ve definitely improved.
“A lot of the juniors have been playing together for two to three years now so that definitely helps, but we do have some young players, too. It’s impressive that they’ve kind of come together pretty fast this early in the year.”
Chayse Dube spearheaded the Pinkerton attack with two goals and two assists, bookending the Astros’ offense with their first and fifth scores in the fourth and 66th minutes. Neither qualified as her best play of the match.
That occurred in the 64th minute when she took a pass from Courtney Peltak at the top right corner of the box and sent a bending cross to the lower left corner where Mattie Sullivan kicked the ball into the net out of midair.
The hookup was a back-breaker.
“There were just some breakdowns in terms of things like tracking,” said Warriors coach Nick O’Brien, whose team is 1-2. “Just defensive breakdowns. We’re a young team and we’re working at it. We’ll get back to training tomorrow and keep going.”
If Sullivan’s goal was the final nail in the coffin, Macy Graves’ in the 45th minute was the one that started to pull Winnacunnet off the rails. O’Brien said his team “panicked” a bit when they went down 2-0 and it got worse when Emily Hood found Sullivan with a bicycle-like pass over the head of the defense, which left Sullivan to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
“It just comes back to communication,” Dube said. “It’s so important. I always tell the girls we’re way better when we’re talking on the field. When we do that we all know what’s going on and who’s where so we can find more open opportunities.”
All match, it seemed like the Astros were finding those chances, and because of that Winnacunnet never really had a chance to make much of the limited runs they were able to get. With Pinkerton spending so much time on offense, and the Warriors having trouble flipping the field back their way, all the momentum stayed in Pinkerton’s favor.
“We have a very strong defense this year and we just pass really well (on offense),” Dube said. “We make sure to make these connecting passes so we can stay in their half and keep having opportunities to get shots on goal.”