When the Needham girls’ soccer team needs a goal, they know which player to turn to. On Thursday night, that was the case — twice.
On a cold and rainy evening at Needham High School, sophomore defender Madeline Ledbury provided the spark for Needham, scoring two goals, including the overtime winner to propel the No. 12 Rockets to a 2-1 Division 1 South quarterfinal victory over No. 13 Wellesley.
With one minute remaining in the first overtime period, Needham freshman Samantha Scully sent a cross into the box from the right goal line. Calm as could be, Ledbury let the ball ricochet off her head and into the far-right side of the net to send Needham’s Memorial Park into a frenzy.
“I think that scoring those goals was representative of how well the team did,” said Ledbury. “Scoring the goals is nothing. The team is everything.”
It certainly wasn’t Ledbury’s only dramatic moment of the night as the Rockets (12-5-3) trailed the Raiders (9-5-4), 1-0, with two minutes to go in regulation when Needham was awarded a penalty kick after contact in the box. With fans from both sides looking on, Ledbury proceeded to deposit the shot into the bottom left corner of the net to force extra time.
“She is our on-field general as a sophomore,” said Needham head coach Carl Tarabelli. “She does what we need her to do.”
The Raiders started the scoring with nine minutes remaining in the first half when senior captain and midfielder Isabella Turco fired a shot from the right wing that went over the head of Needham goalkeeper Lydia Pirner, who ended the night with seven saves. That was it for Wellesley, however, as they were unable to convert on a number of opportunities in the second half.
With the win, the Rockets move on to face an undefeated King Philip squad in the semifinals on Wednesday at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School.
“Everyone did their job today,” said Tarabelli. “We had to do our job, we had to be brave and even though [Wellesley] was bigger and stronger, we had to win the air and that’s what we did.”
Division 1 Central
Wachusett 1, Groton-Dunstable 0 — Emily O’Brien provided the lone goal, while Emma Hickey got the shutdown for the second-seeded Mountaineers (13-4-2) in their quarterfinal win over the seventh-seed Crusaders (7-5-8).
Division 1 North
Andover 2, Lexington 1 (SO) — Keeper Izzy Shih saved a shot in penalty kicks, and then converted from the spot herself to secure the quarterfinal win (3-1 PKs) for the host Golden Warriors (13-3-3).
Division 2 North
Belmont 1, Beverly 0 — Junior forward Kiki Christofori scored 10 minutes into the second half on a feed from senior midfielder Marina Karalis and sophomore Bridget Martin made several key saves to preserve the quarterfinal upset for the 10th-seeded Marauders (10-7-2).
Division 3 North
Pentucket 1, North Reading 0 — Junior Mackenzie Currie’s overtime goal was the difference for the 18th-seeded Sachems (12-6-3) in their upset in the quarterfinals over the 10th-seeded Hornets (10-4-6).
Division 1 South
Bishop Feehan 3, Plymouth North 0 — Two goals from Francesca Yanchuk powered the second-seeded Shamrocks (19-0-1) past the 10th seeded Eagles (13-5-2) in the quarterfinals.
King Philip 3, Oliver Ames 1 — The top-seeded Warriors (20-0) stayed perfect behind goals from senior Avery Snead, senior Ally Stanton and junior Jenny Montville in knocking off the eighth-seeded Tigers (14-5-1) in the Division 1 South quarterfinals.
Ethan Nash can be reached at email@example.com.