Beverly rallied from a goal down at halftime to defeat Central Catholic, 2-1, on penalty kicks and claim its first Division 1 North title Sunday afternoon at Manning Field in Lynn.
The Panthers went 4 for 4 on penalty kicks, outscoring Central, 4-1, to advance to the EMass final Tuesday against Franklin, the winner of the Division 1 South title game.
“It’s great [to win the first girls’ North title in school history],” said Panthers coach Kristin Simpson, who graduated from Beverly High in 2000. “This is a great group of girls and they deserve it. I’m very proud.”
The Raiders (15-1-4), who fell for the first time all season, started the scoring in the 29th minute when a pass from Aly Spencer deflected off a Panthers defender to Alex Nagri, who deposited it in the back of the net.
The Panthers (18-3-0) netted the equalizer three minutes into the second half thanks to EMass leading scorer Caitlin Harty. The junior used her speed to break past the Central Catholic defense and chip the ball over keeper Lauren Flynn for her 50th goal of the season.
In the shootout, Harty, Eva Gourdeau, Kristen O’Connor, and Diandra Crowley — all juniors — found the back of the net in succession. Crowley’s served as the winner after Central failed to put its first two shots on net
Division 1 South — In an all-Hockomock final, Franklin beat Oliver Ames, 3-2, in a match with most of the action in the first and last 13 minutes. With an aggressive approach from start to finish, Franklin (20-0-1) came out on top at Braintree High.
The victors mostly consist of underclassmen and freshman midfielder Bailey Knous proved her worth right away. In the fourth minute, she scored on a rebound off goalkeeper Claudia Leitzmann.
The underclassmen continued to storm the field as three minutes later freshman forward Alexis Stowell dribbled past the Oliver Ames defense and sent the ball to sophomore forward Taylor Cogliano to score in the low left corner.
Stowell made it 3-0 when she visited that same corner in the 13th minute.
The Tigers (17-4-1) took control of the ball for most of the second half. With two minutes left, Oliver Ames forward Corrine Herlihy scored after a long drive past the Panthers’ defense.
Senior captain Kendall Andrew scored on a free kick from the 20-yard line 30 seconds later, but the Tigers ran out of time.
Division 3 South — After having its sectional title dreams dashed the last two years by Dover-Sherborn, the third time was the charm for Norwell, which finally got past its nemesis with a 1-0 shootout win at Braintree High.
“We just had that motivation that we wanted to change what happened last year,” said Norwell coach Kara Connerty.
The teams played to a deadlock in 80 minutes with only a couple of scoring chances for either side.
In the shootout, Dover-Sherborn shot first and it sailed over the crossbar. Goalkeeper Bridget Conway shot first for the Clippers and scored to give herself a cushion. Dover-Sherborn scored to get even and Norwell missed the chance to take another lead. But the Raiders’ next two shots hit the crossbar.
With the game on the line, junior Julia Karacius calmly buried her attempt.