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May 23, 2013

Freshmen lead North Andover into tourney

North Andover just finished off an impressive regular season (15-5), one that senior defender Kaileigh Rogato said wouldn’t have been so successful without four super freshmen.

Those four are led by rookie goalie Lauren Hiller, who has recorded 10 or more saves in nine games including a combined 24 stops in two tight contests against Masconomet.

She also had 15 saves in a 12-10 loss to Ipswich on Monday.

“She’s actually one of the best goalies I’ve ever played with,” Rogato said.

“She’s a very quiet person but she’s very dominant and her presence is very strong. ... She has great clears. She makes a great first step to the ball so she’s not afraid to step out of the net.

“If another team is trying to stall us, she no problem coming out of her crease, putting her stick up and acting like another defender,” Rogato added.

Rogato said Hiller especially stood out as the real deal in a 7-4 victory over Andover on April 5. That victory marked the first time the Scarlet Knights had beaten Andover in 10 years.

“In the Andover game, she dominated and had amazing saves,” Rogato said.

Michelle Poirier (attacker), Abbie Karalis (midfielder) and Emma Johns (defender) are the other Scarlet Knight freshmen.

“It’s so fun to see how they’re so young and yet they’re connecting with even the older kids on and off the field,” Rogato said. “It’s really good to see the connection going into the tournament.”

Karalis plays alongside senior Pam Coufos and sophomore Leah Chittick.

“She doesn’t really have a lot of what we call ‘freshmen mistakes,’” Rogato said about Karalis.

“She’s really smart with the ball. A lot of it has to do with her pure athleticism.”

Rogato added Poirier has a lot of speed and cuts well while Johns has tremendous strength.

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