Shepherd Hill keeps rolling in girls' soccer.


Byline: CHRIS FORSBERG COLUMN: HIGH SCHOOLS Shepherd Hill girls' soccer coach David Lawrence would love to take all the credit for the Rams' success over the past four seasons, but admits his arrival merely coincided with that of an exceptionally talented freshman class. For the past three seasons, Shepherd Hill has been nearly unbeatable. Winners of three straight SWCL West titles and coming off their second consecutive undefeated regular season, the Rams have opened the 2004 campaign by winning their first 12 games. "This is the culmination of four years," Lawrence said. "I'd love to take the credit, but the first year I was coaching, we had three freshmen starting in (Telegram & Gazette All-Star) Alanna Darling, Jennifer Smith and Courtney Perkins. They've been the catalysts of this whole thing." With eight seniors on the roster this year, the Rams are hoping to win that elusive Central Mass. Division 1 title. Shepherd Hill is sound from its net out. The defense has shined particularly bright this season, and senior goalkeeper Tracey Breault posted her 11th shutout of the season as the Rams defeated Northbridge, 2-0, on Tuesday. Seniors Alicia Russell and Smith are stalwarts on defense, while Allison Page has excelled at stopper. "It's clichA[c], but our entire team plays defense," Lawrence said. "We've got pretty good schemes, but the key is our tremendous athletes. Our strategy has always been to have good players on defense. In baseball, you can always find a good defensive player at shortstop, but it's nice to have that first baseman that can field, too. That's our philosophy. "Our midfield really works its tail off, and that sparks the offense up front. We do an especially good job at controlling the ball on the field." Offensively, the Rams spread the ball around. Fifteen players have scored a goal this season, and every player except Breault has at least one assist. You won't find a Shepherd Hill athlete atop the Central Mass. leading scorers list, but you will find a cluster of Rams in the middle of the pack. Last year, Shepherd Hill went 16-0-2 during the regular season and earned the second seed in the tournament. The Rams posted an opening-round victory over Milford before losing to Leominster on penalty kicks. That setback remains fresh in the minds of the team's seniors. "I think it was more of a disappointment because the team thought it was capable of so much more," said Lawrence, whose team opened the 2004 preseason by scrimmaging large...

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