When Francesca Yanchuk stepped to the ball in the first round of penalty kicks in Saturday’s Catholic Central Cup girls’ soccer final, she had no doubt where she was going to shoot: low and right — the same spot she had scored in the first half on a penalty kick.
Yanchuk converted her attempt, paving the road to Bishop Feehan’s 3-1 victory over Bishop Fenwick in penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime.
“I knew I had to just place it where I wanted and relax and shoot it,” said Yanchuk, who also scored the tying goal in the 70th minute.
Bishop Fenwick jumped out to a first-half lead on goals from Elani Gikas and Alison Mitchell.
“Being down two, we were going to be real aggressive in the second half, so Yanchuk scoring before halftime allowed us to play how we usually would,” Feehan coach Phil Silva said. “Then we had possession almost all second half but I was getting nervous before she tied it.”
Feehan finished its season 14-0, completing a second consecutive undefeated campaign.
“It really felt like being undefeated coming into this game was a mantle we were carrying and I just kept telling everyone that I just wanted us to play as much soccer as we could this year,” said Silva, who led his team to the Division 1 state title last year.
The two goals scored by Fenwick equaled the total Feehan had coming into the game, yet when it mattered most senior goalkeeper Madison Breckner performed.
“She was just calm in those penalties. I think everyone gets a little tight in these big games, but she played so relaxed and well there,” Silva said.
For Yanchuk, who will attend Villanova next fall, there was no better way to conclude her Bishop Feehan career.
“I knew it was my last game ever here and I had the chance to leave it all on the field for the last 40 minutes and we did, and to be undefeated these last two years is a big legacy to leave,” Yanchuk said.
Hingham 4, Pembroke 0 — The Harborwomen put on a show in the first half, jumping out to a 3-0 lead en route to a dominant win over Pembroke in the Patriot Cup final in Marshfield. Two of those opening goals were impressive strikes from sophomore forward Sophie Reale as the Harborwomen (12-1-1) finished a unique season as league champions.
“The season ended the way I felt it should, the best team going out on top,” first-year Hingham coach Sarah Dacey said.
The Harborwomen dictated play early, denying the Titans a shot on goal in the first quarter. Reale scored her first goal of the afternoon about six minutes into the game. She received a feed into the box from fellow sophomore Kelsey Tarby, chipped the ball past a defender and delivered a shot under the crossbar. Reale’s second goal, her fifth of the league tournament, came with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter and was a thing of beauty. She picked up the ball in the middle of the field about 30 yards from the goal, faked out a defender, and used her left foot to send a perfect strike off the top-right corner of the goal and in.
“I kind of just turned and didn’t really look for the net,” Reale said.
Freshman Claire Murray helped the Harborwomen pull away even further with three minutes left in the first half, tapping a loose ball into a wide-open net from close range. Junior forward Ava Maguire pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fourth quarter by sliding the ball past a charging goalkeeper while on a partial breakaway.
“At the beginning of the summer we had no idea that we would be able to have a season, and every time we step on the field we talk about how grateful we are to be able to have a season,” senior captain Kate Dalimonte said. “And winning in the championship just makes it so worth it, all the rules we had to go through, it makes it amazing to be in this position.” Pembroke finished the season 10-3-1, all three losses coming against Hingham.
Winchester 5, Lexington 0 — Even though Winchester would not have the chance to return to the Division 2 state title game for the third straight season, coach Rick Emanuel praised his team’s spirit as they approached their concluding game against Lexington.
“We knew this was it — we knew this was our final game together as a family,” he said. “So it was celebratory. From the prep all week, to the warmups, to the game, we just wanted to live in the moment.”
Winchester cruised to a 10-0 season in the Middlesex League by finishing off the Minutemen on the road. Senior Ellie Rappole, who will play college soccer at Yale, notched a hat trick in her final game. Rappole is one of 15 seniors — including Emanuel’s daughter, Kate — who played their last minutes for Winchester on Saturday. Through watching his daughter ascend the youth ranks, Emanuel developed a unique bond with the graduating class. That made the final whistle even more bittersweet.
“We’ve been part of each other’s lives since they were 6 years old,” Emanuel said. “When the final whistle blew, it was emotional.”