DUXBURY — Give Harwood winger Annie Jamieson enough corner kicks and she will make you pay.
The Highlanders senior proved that on three occasions Tuesday, guiding her team to a 9-0 blowout over Randolph, the team’s third shutout. Harwood scored five goals in the opening 16 minutes and walked away with a 16-0 advantage on corners. Jamieson’s low, bending services led to a trio of goals, making it difficult for the Galloping Ghosts to bounce back from the early deficit.
“Any time you get 16 corner kicks, something good has already happened — and something good is going to happen,” Harwood coach Mike Vasseur said. “And we’ve got some people who are real ball hawks: They want to go to the ball.”
Ashley Proteau and Emma Ravelin recorded two goals apiece, while Tanum Nelson, Louisa Thomsen and Kayla Yalicki also scored. Amaya Rogers and Sarah Bartolomei split time in goal for HU, which benefited from a pair of Randolph own goals.
“We have a really strong team this year,” Harwood fullback Lili Platt said. “And when we play for each other and communicate, I don’t think there’s anything we can’t do.”
Thomsen gave HU a 1-0 lead 58 seconds into play. She settled the ball on the right side and fired a 20-yard bullet into the upper-left corner. Harwood doubled the lead in the fourth minute after Jamieson delivered her first corner kick from the left side. The service took a long bounce outside the near post and ricocheted off a Randolph defender before sailing across the goal line.
“Her crosses are amazing,” Platt said. “She’s just a really talented player.”
A give-and-go between Nelson and Thomsen during the eighth minute led to Harwood’s third goal. Nelson showed off her ambidextrous shooting abilities by collecting a pass from Thomsen inside the penalty area and blasting a left-footed shot past Randolph first-half goalie Kaylee Thayer (12 saves).
“We were missing some core players today who are the foundation of the team, so it was tough,” Randolph coach Hayley Quinones said. “But I have to give kudos to the younger players because they didn’t give up. They just kept pressing. I have a lot of freshmen and we’re a young squad, so it’s been quite a rebuilding year. We’ve also had quite a few injuries that we’re trying to overcome, and it’s been an uphill battle. Usually every season we finish with teams like Harwood, U-32 and Montpelier. And this year we’re starting with all those teams, so we’re getting a wake-up call early. It’s helping the younger players, but it’s not really giving us enough time to connect as a team first. So we’re looking forward to the next half-a-dozen games where we can compete more.”
Harwood made it 4-0 in the 12th minute following a Jamieson corner kick from the right side. The ball squirted out toward the top of the 18-yard box, where Proteau hammered a shot off the underside of the crossbar.
“Ashley has always been such a strong player and she’s really fallen into her spot in center mid this year,” Platt said. “She deserves those goals. She works so hard.”
Proteau was one of the Highlanders’ top scorers as a striker last season, but this year she’s made a seamless transition to midfield. The junior extended the lead to 5-0 in the 16th minute after beating a defender at the top of the penalty area. Instead of trying to dribble past another fullback, Proteau toe-poked the ball through traffic for a goal inside the right post.
”Ashley’s skills have always been there and they’ll always be there,” Vasseur said. “We moved her around, but that doesn’t mean her skill set has changed at all. If she gets the ball, she can strike it well and she can put it on net. And that worked very well for us today.”
Harwood capped the first-half scoring in the 29th minute when Kayla Yalicki unleashed a 25-yard rocket into the upper-left corner. Randolph’s Grace Helfant took over goalie duties in the second half and watched Thomsen pound a shot off the crossbar in the 44th minute. Less than a minute later Nelson beat three Ghosts in heavy traffic and blasted the ball just wide of the right post. Randolph sent the ensuing goal kick to the right side, but Harwood kept the ball in its attacking third and capitalized on another own goal for a 7-0 advantage.
A Jamieson corner from the right side in the 48th minute set the stage for Ravelin’s first goal on a scramble in front of the net. A minute later Ravelin dribbled up the middle and tucked away the final goal.
“We have a really strong midfield with Anna, Ashley and Tanum,” Platt said. “And Siena Mazer and Tela Haskell are both really strong outside mids.”
The Highlanders relied on lots of subs down the stretch, with almost every athlete playing at least half the match. Harwood’s top guns could have likely finished a few more times, but instead of padding any stats the Highlanders focused on the future.
“It’s not easy for the starters to sit out as much as they did today,” Vasseur said. “They want to get back in there and they want to get their touches. But it’s good for the team to get everybody in and give everybody a chance, because that doesn’t happen every game.”
Freshman Lyric Smith shifted from left fullback to sweeper for a stint in the second half as HU experimented with different lineups. Smith, Platt, Anda Gulley and Katie Rush started on defense for Harwood, which earned its third shutout after opening the season with clean sheets against GMVS and Northfield-Williamstown.
”Katie Rush is such a strong sweeper and she does a really good job of letting us know where to be and what to be doing,” Platt said. “And Anda Gulley at stopper is also very strong and good at distributing the ball quickly and effectively. Lyric and I are the outside backs and it’s going well. We have a strong defense and I’m excited about the season.”
The Highlanders’ final margin of victory was a step in the right direction after HU suffered a 6-0 loss to South Burlington last week. Harwood outscored opponents 15-2 during its first three matches before falling flat against the Wolves.
“South Burlington was a disappointment,” Vasseur said. “We played them really hard in the first half and then we crumbled after their second goal. We didn’t believe in ourselves. And we really worked on that so we believe in ourselves more, and then we’re there for each other. And whatever happens, we keep going forward. We don’t get down, we stay positive and we keep chugging together. We’re a good team — it’s just not everybody always believes it.”
Harwood (4-1) will travel to play U-32 at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Randolph (0-5) will visit Peoples Academy at 4:30 p.m. Friday.