There were no secrets between the Hingham and Natick High girls soccer teams.
After splitting a pair of regular-season meetings, the Harborwomen and Redhawks met for the third time this season on Saturday in the Division 1 South Sectional semifinals. Natick senior Abby Gerdes scored the opening goal in the 43rd minute and the Redhawks took advantage of Hingham’s aggressive attempt at finding an equalizer en route to a 4-1 victory.
“There was nothing that we didn’t see from them or they didn’t see from us that we didn’t know,” said Natick coach David Wainwright. “It was basically who is going to show up today and play? Obviously the scoreboard says we were able to make more plays in the end.”
The Redhawks (No. 10 seed, 13-2-5) advance to played top-seeded Newton South (17-1-2) in the sectional final on Monday at 2:30 p.m. at Hingham High.
Gerdes finished with a hat trick scoring goals in the 43rd, 55th and 73rd minute.
Early in the first half, Gerdes finished a cross. Twelve minutes later she put Natick ahead 2-0 when she finished a rush with a shot that hit the post and then rolled in.
She netted her final tally when she blasted a shot off the crossbar and finished her own rebound to stretch the Redhawks’ lead to 4-1.
“Abby’s been doing this all season for us,” said Wainwright. “She’s a constant threat. She’s one of those players that everybody on the opposing side, they plan for her. When we went up one goal, they couldn’t plan the way they wanted. She became isolated, she did’t have a drop player behind her and she was able to really take advantage of that space. Abby being Abby, she does what she does.”
Hingham (No. 14-2-5) wasn’t lacking in chances in the second half. Sophomore Lily Reale nearly tied the game at one in the 48th minute when she sent a shot on goal, but Natick freshman goalkeeper Allison Jeter leaped to make a one-handed save. The ball landed before Jeter after the initial stop, but she corralled it before it crossed the goal line.
After Gerdes’ second tally of the day, Hingham got on the scoreboard in the 65th minute. Sophomore Kate Dalimonte sent a corner kick into the box and junior Emma Quilty finished in traffic.
“I think from the get go they had us today,” said Hingham coach Ryan Puntiri. “Coming off an emotional win the other night (over rival Whitman-Hanson in the quarterfinals on Wednesday), that’s the hardest thing to do in the tournament - you’re coming off a big win, an emotional high and you try to ground them to get back into it.”
Gerdes also played a role in Natick’s third goal. In the box, she dropped a pass to junior Laney Ross and Ross finished in the 70th minute.
“Once we got the (first) goal it opened it up for us because they had to push,” said Wainwright. “They didn’t want to wait, they wanted to get that goal back right away. This is a really talented Hingham team that’s not really used to being behind. Because they pushed so fast to get that goal right away, it enabled Abby to get more space and do what she does.”
Hingham was without junior midfielder Emma Hynes, who was out with injury. The Harborwomen had also played without senior caption Kira Maguire for most of the season after she tore her ACL in September.
“You feel for the seniors because it’s their last game, but you’re also excited for the younger kids that were able to not only contribute and get experience and see what it’s like,” said Puntiri. “The future is definitely bright from our standpoint but it is tough for the seniors.
“(Senior captains) Kira (Maguire), Emily (Meservey) and Kate (Falvey) they’ve been fantastic leaders on and off the field. We ask a lot of them in our program to do a lot of different things. (We ask them) to not only mold the younger players but rally the troops in the off-season and really do a lot of things. They were up to the task.”