You might have noticed that Haverhill girls soccer (4-3-2) already has matched its 2011 win total.
Led by junior Kelleigh Cokely (six goals, two assists), the Hillies even put a scare into the area’s top team, Central Catholic, before losing 3-2 last Thursday.
Cokely has provided a large bulk of the offense and freshman Basema Hussein has come on strong lately, including netting the lone goal in Haverhill’s victory over Methuen last week.
But someone who hasn’t played a single minute might just be the most important Hillie of them all.
Senior Rhianna Waterman ripped a muscle in her foot and had a bunionectomy July 20. Her surgery left a two-inch scar on her foot and will prevent her from playing this entire season.
But Waterman hasn’t missed a game or practice and certainly is an inspiration to her teammates.
“When I go out there, I try to think about winning it for her,” Cokely said. “She’s a huge support for us.”
Waterman has done whatever head coach Fred Tarbox has asked, including coaching the junior varsity team during practices and games for a couple of weeks when the JV coach had surgery.
Waterman was a little nervous coaching in games.
“I was, but I had my friend Ashley Duff (a sophomore in college who helps coach the Haverhill program) with me and it was kind of a fun experience to actually be the coach,” Waterman said.
Waterman, who does not plan to play in college, was extremely upset at first because she knew this was the last chance she had to play soccer at a high level.
“But then I realized that I could be at practice every single day managing the team and stuff so that made me feel better,” she said. “I’m really proud of all the girls because they’re winning and doing great and we have an unbelievable team. So that has kind of inspired me.”
Waterman is ranked eighth out of 419 students in her senior class. She received a Yale Book Award and will be applying to Yale. She certainly sets a tremendous example for the underclass players.
“She’ll have physical therapy after school, drive to physical therapy, which is not close, and then drive back and come to practice,” Tarbox said. “She’ll even ask me, ‘Coach, is it OK if I’m late because I have a doctor’s appointment?’ It’s like, ‘Are you kidding me Rhianna?’”
Cokely leads offense
Cokely, who is ranked ninth out of 435 students in her junior class, certainly is doing a fine job leading the Haverhill offense with six goals and two assists thus far.
This past offseason, she played for the Scorpions. It was her first time ever playing club soccer. She filled in at goalie some during her freshman year because of an injury to the Hillies’ starter at the time.
“I spent the offseason really training on being a better field player,” she said. “As much as I liked goalie, I like scoring.”
Cokely, a junior, would like to play in college and has emailed BU, Princeton and UMass Amherst so far.
“I want to score late and finish more opportunities,” she said about what she is working on this season. “I know I’ve missed a few key goals that I could have scored. And I always have to work on making better passes.”
The Timberlane boys posted an impressive 3-1 victory over Pinkerton last Thursday. Owls goalie Tom Sullivan made a stunning 20 saves.
“We’re on our way to hopefully bringing a banner to school,” Sullivan said. “It’s definitely been a great year compared to the last couple of years. We hadn’t beaten Pinkerton for over four years.”
Timberlane won just three games last year. This year’s team was 6-2-3 entering yesterday. About his busy and productive night in net, Sullivan said: “Definitely that was the most saves I’ve had this season and my whole three years as the goalie for varsity. After the game I was a little tired. But it was well worth it. Coach keeps us all in shape so I wasn’t winded.”
Fudge suffers bruised knee
Whittier’s Jacob Fudge sat out Tuesday’s game with a bruised knee. He isn’t expected to miss much time.
With Fudge out, Wildcats coach Jason Skinner moved Luis Cortes from center-midfield to forward. Cortes ended up scoring three goals to lead Whittier 7-0 over Minuteman.
Skinner also made a nice switch by moving Steven Quimby from midfield to forward about four games ago.
“He has got great foot skills and got a great shot,” Skinner said about Quimby who also netted a hat trick Tuesday, his second in two games.
First career hat trick
North Reading’s John Braga scored his first career hat trick last Thursday in a 3-1 victory over Manchester Essex.
“He’s been the vocal point of our attack all year,” North Reading coach Mark Bisognano said. “He’s led us in assists. He’s definitely been the best player for us on the field from game one.
“We asked him to be a typical midfielder last year and give us some offense and defense,” Bisognano added. “We’ve asked for a little more offensively this season.”
Boys Fab 5
1. Londonderry 10-0
2. Phillips 5-0-1
3. Pentucket 6-1-1
4. North Andover 7-1-1
5. Timberlane 6-2-3
Honorable mention: Andover 5-2-2, Windham 8-2, Pinkerton 8-4
Girls Fab 5
1. Central 8-0
2. Brooks 6-0
3. Londonderry 10-2
4. Andover 7-1-3
5. North Andover 6-2-1
Honorable mention: Pinkerton 8-2-1, Haverhill 4-3-2