SWAMPSCOTT — Torrential rain, loud fans, and a tying goal late. What else can you ask for out of a soccer game?
Wednesday evening’s match between the Swampscott Big Blue (1-1-1) and Gloucester Fisherman ended in a 1-1 draw at Blocksidge field, as Gloucester’s late-game magic stripped the Big Blue of a win.
With two minutes remaining in the game, a desperation cross from Gloucester’s Ava Paone to the back post was met by teammate Taiya Mano, who hammered it in to tie the game 1-1 in dramatic fashion.
“It’s a good test for our team, especially when you give up a goal late, how you respond to that and how you come back,” Swampscott coach Jaymie Caponigro said. “So, you know, I give Gloucester a lot of credit for sticking with us in this game.”
The first half was a back-and-forth battle with neither side connecting for 35 minutes. It was Victoria Quagrello and Mia Bailey creating most of the offensive action for Swampscott early on, and eventually, it paid off.
Five minutes before halftime, the Big Blue earned their first corner and capitalized to open the scoring. A high-arcing cross from Jesse Ford found its way over the keeper’s hand and onto the foot of Victoria Quagrello who tapped it in to open the scoring (1-0).
“My friend, my fellow captain Jesse Ford, she had that corner and I knew she was going to place [it] in the front spot. [I] just wanted to make contact to make it go in,” Quagrello said.
Caponigro gave high praise for the chances Quagrello has been able to create.
“[Quagrello] has put herself in opportunities in front of the goal and she’s been able to capitalize on them, and that needs to become a little bit more infectious among our other players,” Caponigro said. “We’ve got ourselves in the right spots. We’ve just got to work on finishing the ball in that final third.”
With another tally, Quagrello’s hot streak continues. She’s already netted three goals this season – one in each game.
The first half ended 1-0 in favor of the hosts. That momentum showed early in the second half. As the rain poured down, so did offensive opportunities for the Big Blue.
Quagrello nearly made it a double just minutes into the half with a header off the crossbar, and freshman Mia Bailey continued to show her individual skill, but couldn’t quite find the net after multiple chances. Gloucester goalkeeper Jessica Harvey made things difficult, shielding away several breakaway opportunities from Swampscott.
As the second half went along, Gloucester continued to fight, but impressive stops from Swampscott keeper Eve Byrne kept the Fishermen off the board.
Late in the half, Mano brought the Gloucester crowd to its feet with a deep rip that smacked off the crossbar. Although a heartbreaker for the Fisherman, it wasn’t the last the crowd would hear from Mano.
Even with the rainy conditions, Quagrello gave no excuses for Mano’s late goal.
“You know, rain or not, we get out there and do what we need to do,” she said. “Today, we didn’t get the results we wanted. We just didn’t play the way we usually play.”
Caponigro also didn’t blame the wet conditions.
“You can only control what you can control and, unfortunately, the weather this season hasn’t been something we’ve had much control over,” Caponigro said. “And, you know, you can prepare your players about the balls, [if] it’s going to bounce a certain way, if it’s going to be slick, if it’s going to move a little faster, but when you’re out on the field, you know, anything can really happen.”