SCITUATE – No. 3 Hanover was looking to remain unbeaten and capture back-to-back Div. 3 state titles while No. 4 Norwell was itching to also repeat a feat of their own.
Déjà vu goes to the Clippers.
Norwell (23-1-1) is back on top of the podium as the Clippers edged the Hawks 1-0 to complete the sweep of Division 3 soccer championships as the boys defeated Pembroke 2-1 in a 5-4 penalty kick shootout moments before the girls joined the winners circle as well.
The victory gives Norwell both titles, which is the same thing that happened in 2021 for one of the strongest soccer programs along the South Shore.
Head coach Kara Connerty was a part of title runs in 2021 and now 2023 and explained the uncanniness and rare air for each program.
“In 2021, we played three games at home and then on the road afterwards and both teams ended up on the same field for the championships as well,” said Connerty. “Make it even more exciting, when we pulled into Medway and the boys were losing by one and then they were losing here by one and came back to win on penalty kicks just like 2021. But we didn’t go to overtime this time around and I can’t say enough about the seniors and their leadership,”
Sophomore midfielder Anja Johnson popped in a cross pass from freshman Mairin Blake out in front of the net in the 57th minute for the lone goal to give the Norwell girls their third title in program history, the first coming in 2018.
“I didn’t even know it went in but then I saw everyone celebrating,” said Johnson as the ball went through a scrum out front untouched by the defense. “It’s surreal, (Blake) just kicked it and I tapped it in. It’s crazy this happened in 2021 also so this is just really good for our program.”
Corner kicks were in favor of Norwell 4-0 and the midfield dominated in the second half limiting the Hawks to two chances at the net with both coming from far outside on the wings.
But Hanover has nothing to hang their head on with their last loss coming way back in October 2022 prior to this heartbreaking defeat.
“Things didn’t go our way unfortunately, but if I’m talking about the season as a whole, to go undefeated, the girls did amazing,” said Hanover head coach Mary Cullity. “These girls are just excellent all-around, five-star athletes, and most if not all of them have GPAs over 4.3 – so I couldn’t be prouder.”
Even more fuel for the fire was Norwell avenged their only loss of the season which was at the feet of Hanover (21-1-1) on Sept. 8 in a 1-0 win for the Hawks.
“It is nice, I mean I coached Mary in Pembroke for four years, but it is nice to get back that victory,” said Connerty. “We have a saying ‘EC’ and that means everybody contributes and that’s what we had today and we are just one big family as a team.”