Wellesley’s Isabella Turco (24) and Needham’s Caroline Hood (27) battle for positioning on a race to a loose ball.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Whenever Needham and Wellesley have met on the soccer pitch in the playoffs in recent years, there have been two major common denominators: the weather has been terrible, and the game has been an instant classic. Both of these trends continued on Thursday evening as the No. 12 Needham girls hosted No. 13 Wellesley in the Division I South quarterfinals, after both teams strung together first round upsets.
The Rockets, who took out No. 5 Barnstable, 2-0, on Tuesday, caught the benefit of Wellesley upsetting No. 4 Newton South (1-0) to allow the Rockets a home game.
With the rain coming down hard throughout the night, both teams were forced to deal with the elements. Wellesley drew first blood with 8:54 to play in the first half when senior captain Isabella Turco booted home a loose ball in the net-mouth off of a corner kick, giving Wellesley 1-0 lead at halftime.
The game remained 1-0 in favor of Wellesley until 3:58 remaining, when Needham’s Maddy Ledbury was awarded a penalty kick on a foul inside the box. The sophomore sensation capitalized with a bullet inside the left post to tie the game, giving Needham life and momentum as the match headed to sudden-death overtime.
In the extra frame, Ledbury stayed hot, heading home a corner kick bid for the golden goal to win the game for Needham and send the Rockets to the South semifinals.
At the time of print, Needham will take on top-seeded King Phillip at Whitman-Hanson High School in the South semifinals on November 13 at 5 p.m.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.