The Great(er) Goal Scorers: Dynamic young duo have Reggies on pace for best season ever

Courtesy PhotoFreshman Elainy Rivera, left, and sophomore Lisette Perez, right, have each scored 13 goals this fall to lead a rejuvenated Greater Lawrence program. The Reggies, 8-3-1, are in the middle of one of their best seasons ever.

With how the season started, it looked like it was going to be the same old song and dance for the Greater Lawrence girls soccer team.

The Reggies traveled to Whittier to start their fall and lost convincingly, 4-0.

It was a blow, but one that the program — now in just its ninth season — is unfortunately used to. The Reggies have had just one winning season in their history (2014, 11-7-1), which, not-so-surprisingly, is the lone year they’ve qualified for the postseason. If you take out that one year, the program was a combined 22-88-9 overall heading into this fall.

But that wasn’t going to be the story of this year’s team.

There’s just too much talent on the roster — most notably young goal scorers Lisette Perez and Elainy Rivera — for this group not to succeed.

Perez, a sophomore from Lawrence, burst onto the scene a year ago with a team-high 9 goals. She’s back at it again this fall with 13 goals in 12 games. But this year she has freshman Rivera — who is also from Lawrence — as her wingman.

Rivera has also scored 13 goals in what has been a stellar debut.

Together, the young dynamic duo have led the Reggies (8-3-1) to the program’s second-most wins ever, and have the team on the precipice of just its second playoff appearance.

“We had no idea what to expect from Elainy,” said Greater Lawrence coach Kelsey Cartwright. “We had actually started her at midfield, but one practice I saw her at forward and was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re a really good forward.’

“So we switched her over and the two of them (Perez and Rivera) have been electric working together. It’s like every game it’s Elainy to Lisette for a goal or the other way around.”

The connection between the two was evident right away.

“We have really good communication,” said Perez. “The whole team has gotten better at communicating and passing.”

After that season-opening loss, the Reggies ripped off four straight wins.

With five games left, plus a likely postseason run, the Reggies seem poised to beat the program’s best-ever win total. They already have the program’s second-most wins in a season, surpassing the mark of 6 they set in 2015 (6-11) and 2013 (6-9-3).

“They told me that they haven’t done this well in a while and I was pretty surprised,” said Rivera. “I wasn’t really expecting to be a top player this year. But it’s been really fun.”

Last year, Cartwright only had two freshmen come out for the team. This year, that number was up to 10.

And with talented youths on the roster like Perez and Rivera, the Reggies finally have something that the program’s been searching for: a bright future.

“The girls are thrilled,” said Cartwright. “We feel like we’re growing the program. We have a JV team as well and we’re all trying to grow that talent.

“What I love most about this year’s team is how you can see their improvement. Our first game of the season against Whittier we lost 4-0, but just the other day we beat them (2-0). I was hopeful that this year’s team would do pretty well with how much work they’ve put in, and they’ve all done terrific.”

For now, though, this group of Reggies are looking forward to getting their first playoff experience.

And they don’t plan on making it a short visit.

“We’ve all made plans and have talked about how to get better as a team,” said Perez. “We all encourage each other and push each other to do our best.”

CARROL COMES UP CLUTCH

The Haverhill boys soccer team has relied heavily on tri-captain goalie Matt Corliss this fall, and the senior has delivered big with a pair of shutouts. But the Hillies (7-6-1) lost their starting netminder last week to a dislocated finger and then a cold.

No problem.

In stepped Tyler Carrol, and the sophomore delivered two straight shutouts in two 1-0 wins over Tewksbury and Lawrence. 

Not a bad debut.

STREAK OVER

The North Andover boy’s incredible shutout streak finally came to an end.

The Knights had held their first 12 opponents this fall without a goal, until Chelmsford finally scored during the second half of Thursday’s 1-1 tie.

All good things must come to an end, but the Knights — all the way from goalie Tyler Bussell on out — deserve a round of applause.

And, hey, if there’s some silver lining, because the goal was scored in the second half the Knights did make it over 1,000 scoreless minutes to start the year. Each game is 80 minutes, and they played a 20-minute overtime in a 0-0 tie against Masconomet.

So: 12x80 equals 960, then add 20 for the overtime and at least 40 for the first half against Chelmsford and you get 1,020 scoreless minutes.

 

 

TIMES CHANGING

Now in its 9th season, the Greater Lawrence girls soccer team is hoping this year’s solid season will spark the program moving forward.

Year     Record

2011     2-14

2012     3-13-2

2013     6-9-3

2014     11-7-1

2015     6-11

2016     3-13-1

2017     1-16

2018     1-12-3

*2019     8-3-1

*Five games remaining in regular season.

 

FAB FIVE (BOYS)

1. North Andover     12-1-2

2. Pentucket     10-3-2

3. Windham     9-3-2

4. Timberlane     8-3-3

5. Andover     7-6-3

Honorable Mention: Central Catholic (7-5), Haverhill (7-6-1), Sanborn (7-5-2)

*Brooks, Phillips and Bradford Christian not included in Fab Five.

 

FAB FIVE (GIRLS)

1. Andover     9-2-3

2. North Andover     10-2-2

3. Central Catholic     9-4

4. Pentucket     8-6-2

5. Haverhill     6-7-1

Honorable Mention: Greater Lawrence (8-3-1), Pinkerton (7-7)

*Brooks, Phillips and Bradford Christian not included in Fab Five.

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