Lady Raiders tournament quest on hold after lights go out; Play to resume today at 11 a.m.
ORANGE — The lights may have gone out at the James S. Woodward Athletic Complex, Friday night, but the Athol High School girls’ soccer team extended its season another day.
The Lady Raiders were locked in a scoreless match with rival Mahar when a power outage put a halt to the festivities with 37:37 remaining in the second half. Knowing what was at stake — Athol needs a win to qualify for the tournament — the schools worked together and the game will pick up today at 11 a.m. With the first half having been played, game officials could have called the game a tie.
Mahar had several chances to take leads in the first half, but Athol goalkeeper Payton Parker was superb while holding the Senators scoreless.
Parker’s excellence started in the 14th minute as Carly Jillson knocked a cross that found Jeanne Grutchfield for the redirect. Parker made the improbable save.
A corner-kick from Alex Temple in the 17th minute found the body of Tori Tenney and redirected to Delaney Parker whose touch was pounced on by the Athol keeper.
In the 24th minute, Parker made a diving stop to her left as Katie Cleveland fired on net. Parker’s best effort came in the 33rd minute. After a Temple corner-kick led to a flurry in front, Delaney Parker chipped a shot that looked to be headed into the top shelf. Payton Parker leaped into the air and swatted the shot down. The rebound went right to Grutchfield who quickly fired back from five yards away. Parker used her leg to stop that shot and keep the Senators off the board.
While Parker was under siege for much of the first half, Athol managed just two opportunities. The Lady Raiders best chance came in the fourth minute as a cross from Julia Carey led to a scramble in front. Mahar goalkeeper Elysha Bedard ended up out of the net, but Athol’s Lindsey Hamlett couldn’t get enough leg on her redirect and the Mahar defense cleared it out.
In the 28th minute, Emily Casella knocked a through ball to Carey, but her shot sliced wide.
The contest is the final regular season game for the two teams. Mahar (9-6-2) has already qualified for postseason play while Athol (7-8-2) needs a win to get in.