BILLERICA -- With a roster full of talented underclassmen, the Billerica High girls soccer team is still navigating its way around the learning curve when it comes to winning close games.

Girls soccer

The Indians lost 11 games last fall, eight by a goal.

Billerica is determined to swing the outcome of these games decided by one goal in its favor in 2017. Not only are the Indians playing better as a team this year, they know how to protect a lead.

Sophomore Kayleen McCormack scored her first varsity goal on a penalty kick early in the first half and keeper Madison Bulens (6 saves) made the lead stand as Billerica edged rival Chelmsford, 1-0, in an MVC Division 2 game.

The victory was the Indians first of the fall. Billerica is now 1-2, while Chelmsford was playing its opening game.

"It wasn't pretty, but it was nice to get that first win," said Billerica coach Mike White. "We lost eight games by a goal last year. So it's nice to win one like this."

It didn't take the Indians long to score the game's lone goal. Billerica was awarded a penalty kick three minutes into the first half. White called on McCormack, who was a fixture on defense, to take the shot.

McCormack calmly took a shot that hit the back of the net for a most memorable first career varsity goal.

"I was a little nervous before the shot," said McCormack. "I was surprised when coach told me to take the shot. When the shot went in it felt awesome. I'm just glad I could help the team.


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Billerica dominated the first half, generating a number of corner kicks, but wasn't able to add to its lead. Jenna Balboni and Emily Ferri helped lead Billerica's offensive charge.

Chelmsford's freshman keeper Kate Krueger came up a number of key stops to keep the Lions within striking distance. Krueger finished with 12 saves in her varsity debut.

"Kate really stepped up for us," said Chelmsford coach Leah Potcner. "She made some big saves."

Chelmsford was able to create more scoring chances in the second half. But Billerica's swarm-to-the-ball defense, led by Bulens, prevented the Lions from putting together any type of sustained attack.

Danielle Flaherty, Sadie Hall, McCormack, Madison Bonvie, Julia McCarthy and Jordan Rogers had strong games on defense for the Indians.

"Defensively we're really strong," said White. "Arguably, I think we have the best keeper in the league. We're struggling a bit in the final third of the field. If we are able to get a couple of goals in a game, we're going to be a very dangerous team."

Chelmsford, which only won two games in 2016, played hard from start to finish. Caroline Whalen, Hannah Myerson and Kathryn Slattery had strong games on defense for the Lions. Kelsey Tinker, McKenzie Leahy and Nicole McGinty also played well.

"It's tough to lose, but I'm pleased with the effort," said Potcner. "I was impressed with our level of play. We still have a lot of work to do. But I have a ton of confidence in these girls and high expectations for this season."

Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi

HOLE-IN-ONE

TEWKSBURY -- Karen LaFlamme of Tewksbury scored a hole-in-one recently on the second hole at Tewksbury Country Club.

LaFlamme used a 6-iron to ace the 137-yard, par-3 hole. Her playing partners were Betty Marggraf, Lynn Sullivan and Kathy Marullo.