Unbeaten Season Hopes Dissolve, But PA Booters Still Tops

Years ago, Boston Red Sox commentator Ken Harrelson became well known for coining phrases like, “As long as the ball’s round, anything can happen.”

Well, anything did in fact seem to happen to the previously-undefeated Pinkerton Academy girls’ soccer team  as it saw its hopes of finishing the 2015 regular season undefeated wither on the vine in its final regular season match late last week, thanks to a 2-1 loss to an opponent that ended up with a far more modest .500 record.

The Nashua North Lady Titans edged the 15-0 Astros on their home field Friday, Oct. 23. However, coach Steve Gundrum’s academy group will still get the top seed in the Division I tourney because the 15 victories it tallied are more than any other squad in the division managed during the regular campaign.

“I knew that we had a good team, and we should have been a top-four team. To go 15-1 was a small surprise. Getting first is tough, with so many factors involved, like injuries and luck,” said the head coach. “There are several good teams that also were competing for first, and could have gotten it, like Manchester Central, Londonderry, Bedford, and Bishop Guertin. These are teams that are almost equal, and any of them, including us, can win it this year. We are good enough to win it all, but we are not good enough that we can’t lose in the first round.”

The Lady Astros had pulled themselves to within one win of a perfect regular season by thumping the scuffling Keene High Lady Blackbirds by a 5-0 tally on that opponent’s home pitch Tuesday. Oct. 20.

The PA lead sat at 2-0 at halftime, and the locals added three more markers in half number two with Julia Bousquet potting three total tallies for a hat-trick on the day. Nicole Alves and Christina Ridenour each scored once for the winners, and Alves, Keara Doolan, Courtney Velho, and Mel Roberge all registered assists.

Pinkerton goalie Sammy Mitchell contributed five saves to the fine effort, helping her Lady Astros to their seventh shutout of the fall.

The host Keene Lady Blackbirds slid to 5-10 overall on the Division I season with the defeat, suffering their fourth loss in their last five matches.

In the Friday home loss to the Nashua North contingent that finally placed a blemish on the Lady Astros’ 2015 record, Pinkerton faced an opponent that finished the regular campaign with a 7-7-2 record, winning its final two regular season matches after enduring a four-game winless streak – including three defeats – prior to that.

The top-ranked Lady Astros drew a bye in round one of the Division I tournament, and they will subsequently kick into tourney action with a quarterfinal-round battle against either number eight Timberlane or ninth-ranked Nashua North at Pinkerton this coming Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m.