November 11, 2022 - Story and photos by Joshua Ross
If you look at the score sheet from last night's game, the most important stat on there won't be senior captain Sophie Reale's four goals (we'll get to that though), it will be the one assist next to sophomore Meghan O'Neil's name.
Most of the the first half of the round of 16 game versus Shrewsbury was played in Hingham's end. While the Harborwomen had a few chances in early in the half, their opponents played them well putting the women in red on their heels for the first 20 minutes.
Then with a little less than 20 minutes to play in the half, O'Neil made a perfect pass to Reale between two defenders hitting her in stride. Once past these last two defenders, Reale had a one on one with the goalie and we all know what happened next...1-0 Hingham. After that, Hingham relaxed played their game and pretty much dominated the last 60 minutes.
"She had a really good game today," Reale said of O'Neil after the game. "She really stepped up."
Speaking of stepping up, it's hard to argue that Reale is taking her game to the next level. In a week where she officially committed to the top women's soccer program in the country, UCLA, she has also dominated on the pitch in the Harborwomen's first two tournament games. With eight goals, she has personally outscored 35 of the 37 other teams in the Divison 1bracket.
Even with her amazing performances the past four days, she gives a lot of create to her teammates.
"I think our team has been playing unbelievable, especially this game," says Reale. "We've really been playing as a team. I think we know what can happen especially with last year. I think we are ready for it all."
"I have to say she's completely stepped up in the second half of our season to completely dominate," coach Mary-Frances Monroe told the Anchor. "She scores goals, she's a threat, and if people double or triple team her she finds the open person now. She's just improved so much and I'm really proud of her."
It's hard not to just stop and watch in awe what you're seeing from Reale on the field, even if you are one of her teammates.
"I think some of our players are really, really cute and they just stare sometimes, even when they are on the field, they get caught staring," Monroe goes on to say. "I think it is a huge compliment to Sophie and a huge compliment to how great this team is."
In a tournament like this, as the Harborwomen know all too well, any team can win a game on any given day. While Monroe reminds them of this daily, it is clear to see the team building momentum as they get deeper into the later rounds.
"Definitely," replies Monroe when asked about gaining game to game momentum. "They're very confident. They're not cocky. We've talked about that. Just like the number one seed got knocked off in the first round and I told them not to take this for granted and one game at a time and on one given day anyone can win and we to make sure that doesn't happen to us."
Hingham will host their last home game of the tournament on Sunday at noon versus Brookline. If they move on from that game, semi-final and final matches are played on neutral sites.