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Overachieving Raiders halted in South semifinals

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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Despite being a town known for having excellent boys and girls soccer programs, the 2018 Dover-Sherborn Regional High School girls soccer team overachieved. DS entered the season without a single senior on their roster, and on paper, most would call that a rebuilding year.

However, the Lady-Raiders did not exactly see it that way.

While being young on all fronts, DS was still able to earn double-digit victories this year and finished the regular season at 10-9-2 (7-7-1 TVL). For their achievement, they were awarded the No. 14 seed in Division III South.

With the amount of youth on their roster, getting to the tournament alone was impressive, but DS wasn’t done.

The postseason bid lit a fire under the Raiders, who opened up the tournament with a dominant 5-0 road win over No. 3 and heavily-favored Tri-County. DS followed it up with another dominant 3-0 victory over No. 6 East Bridgewater to advance to the South semifinals on Wednesday.

Just two wins away from a sectional title, the Cinderella Raiders took on No. 10 Hanover for the right to play against top-seeded Norwell in Sunday’s South Final.

Mica Bodkins (2) who scored the lone goal for DS on Wednesday, protects the ball along the end line.

Mica Bodkins (2) who scored the lone goal for DS on Wednesday, protects the ball along the end line.

Hanover drew first blood just six minutes in when Molly McGlame fired home a right-legged boot off of transition to give the Indians (10-5-4) the early 1-0 lead. With 23 minutes to play in the half, junior captain Cerys Balmer nearly evened the game at one with a header off of a corner kick, but the ball was batted away by the Hanover keeper to keep the game 1-0 in favor of the Indians.

Still down a goal following halftime, the Raiders pushed with everything they had to try and even the game at one. Alexis Rapo nearly tied the game with 21 minutes to play when the junior hammered a ball off the crossbar on a rush up the field.

With 9:45 to play, the hard work finally paid off for DS as Mica Bodkins booted home a goal, thanks to a beautiful cross from the wing by Balmer, to even the game at one and give DS new life.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, it was not meant to be. Following the equalizer by Bodkins, Hanover netted two in a span of 1:26 to take a 3-1 lead with 4:06 remaining. The final whistle blew and Hanover advanced with the two-goal victory.

Despite the tough result, this gritty group of Raiders now knows its potential heading into next season. Especially considering the playoff experience the team gained in 2018, the sky is the limit for 2019 DS girls soccer.

For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.

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