MADISON — Given the slippery playing conditions Saturday, it seemed doubtful one goal would stand up in the Class C South semifinal soccer matchup between No. 2 Madison and No. 3 Sacopee Valley.

But Madeline Wood’s shot midway through the first half was the only ball to find the back of the net in Madison’s 1-0 victory. The win puts the Bulldogs (15-1) into Wednesday’s regional final when they’ll host No. 5 Waynflete, an upset winner over top-seeded Monmouth. Sacopee finishes at 12-2-2.

Rain, sometimes steady, fell on and off throughout the game. Players slipped and both goalies struggled with their footing, but good scoring chances were rare.

“Honestly I thought they were going to come back and score a goal or we were going to score another one,” Wood said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a 1-0 game.”

Wood scored her 25th goal of the season with 18:56 left in the first half following a corner kick from Ashley Emery.

“Ashley sent it in around the six and I was just making my usual run,” Wood said. “It bounced off the goalie and I was just in the right place at the right time and hit it in.”

The Hawks narrowly missed a goal 10 minutes into the game when Hannah Manchester’s shot from 20 yards bounced off the crossbar. Madison junior Lauren Hay finished with six saves on nine Sacopee shots, getting help from her defense on a couple of occasions.

“It was pretty difficult to grab the ball with my gloves being wet and the ball being wet,” Hay said. “I had to try to get my energy up because I’ve been sick this past week.”

The Hawks turned up the pressure in the second half and Hay took away a potential goal when she came far out of her net and beat Natasha Silva to the ball as she broke in alone.

“Our goalie had a great game,” Madison co-coach Erin Wood said. “She’s been under the weather all week so it was amazing to watch her come out and play that kind of game. We couldn’t have asked more from her and our defense.”

Both teams had four shots on goal in the second half but the Hawks had the better of the scoring chances with four corner kicks. They generated three of those shots in one sequence midway through the half with Hay stopping one shot and her defense two more.

Sacopee goalie Madison Day finished with eight saves and took her share of chances away from the net as well.

The Bulldogs drew strong games at midfield from Wood, Emery and Whitney Bess while center back Marah Hall steadied the defense. Wood is the team’s lone senior.

“I really think this year we’re playing as a family,” she said. “We’re playing for each other and the team chemistry is just what makes us work. We’re all willing to pass to each other and we’re all willing to recover and help each other out in these big games.”

Madison was eliminated by Waynflete in last year’s semifinal.

“The group of juniors is very athletic,” she said. “It’s a smart group of soccer players. They’ve been playing a long time together along with Madeline so they’re pretty cohesive. They know each other’s habits and really this year they’ve made that transition to trusting each other more completely.”


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