ATTLEBORO — Whether parading north and south on the turf at McGrath Stadium Wednesday or defying the wind and rain with precision east and west passing, the Bishop Feehan High girls’ soccer team was not to be denied the Catholic Central League Cup championship.
Sophomore midfielder Kileigh Gorman led a never-ending attack on the Austin Prep defense, with senior captain Grace Robison and freshman Brooke Kennedy challenging and winning nearly every 50-50 ball, as the Shamrocks left the field with a 2-0 victory Wednesday night, and with little doubt of making an extended run for the MIAA Division I title.
The defending CCL Cup and 2019 MIAA Division 1 state champion Shamrocks (16-1-1) so totally controlled the pace and flow of play against the Cougars that Bishop Feehan senior goalkeeper Amelia Hohos had to make just two long-ball saves during the first half for the shutout.
Gorman was the catalyst for both Bishop Feehan goals. She served up a direct kick from the right side in the 16th minute with the loose ball rebound coming off Robison’s foot for the winning goal into the right side of the Austin Prep net.
Gorman dented the Austin Prep defense with a run from midfield, laced a pass onto the left flank for Ava Graham, the sophomore then drilling the ball into the far top right corner of the Cougar net midway through the second half, in the 56th minute.
The Shamrocks put on an exhibition, putting their talent and passing skills on display for 80 minutes.
“We were on, we were firing,” Bishop Feehan coach Phil Silva said. “Obviously, it’s tough to score goals against good teams, but compared to the first time we played them, we were moving the ball left to right, back and forth — it was nice to watch.”
The Shamrocks generated five first half corner kicks (at 10, 13, 16, 30 and 32 minutes) and could have had a half-dozen goals before halftime. Gorman drilled a drive in the 11th minute, forcing a save, then a shot atop the penalty box at 30. Ava Detorie belted a ball just under the crossbar at 13, forcing an acrobatic save; Madison Eddy had a loose ball chance at 32 after a corner kick; Mikayla Dorer drilled a drive at 34 and Kennedy labeled a free kick on net at 35.
“We’re a small Division 3 school, they’re (Bishop Feehan) a big Division 1 school,” Austin Prep coach Tim Phelan said. “They’re a very good team, they go 20 deep, that’s the difference.:
“The last time that we played them, it was an even game,” Silva said of a 1-0 victory on a goal by senior captain Anne Pearl that handed Austin Prep its first loss.
The Shamrocks’ one-goal margin seemed precarious due to the elements. Gorman was on target in the first minute of the second half and Kennedy played a testing long ball in at 55.
Hohos’ most testing save came in the first five minutes on a shot from Austin Prep’s Jordan Kim. The Cougars’ lone corner kick of the match came in the 80th minute with Grace Burke and Detorie steering the Shamrocks from pressure.
“If we play like that, we’re going to be tough to beat,” Silva said. “We told the kids don’t be satisfied. Hopefully, we have a lot of games left.”