Patriot Ledger: Woodward beat Waldorf, 5-0, on Monday to wrap up an unbeaten regular season and clinch a league title.

By Staff reports

Coach Bob Giordano said that before the season started expectations were “very high” for his Woodward School soccer team.

Then star striker Sarah MacDonagh suffered a knee injury and all bets were off.

Turns out, Woodward has been just as good as advertised, even with MacDonagh sidelined.

With senior co-captain Marissa Albanese of Milton setting a new single-season scoring record for the program, Woodward on Monday blanked Waldorf, 5-0, at home in Quincy.

Woodward completed its first-ever undefeated regular season (9-0-2) and won its first-ever league championship, claiming the Girls Independent League crown with a 6-0-2 mark.

“I gotta tell you, the kids rallied around each other (after MacDonagh got hurt) and played super,” Giordano said. “This is one of the best teams I have ever coached in terms of teamwork and pulling for each other.

“They have total confidence in each other. They never quit, they never put their heads down. They worked hard. They deserved (the league title).”

Junior goalkeeper Jasmine Bean (Quincy) posted her fourth shutout of the season.

Freshman Sara Cole (Quincy) scored twice for Woodward, and classmates Dana Galloway (Weymouth) and Carlie Abbate (Weymouth) also found the net.

The other goal came from Albanese, her 19th of the season to break Jasmin Johansen’s record of 18, set about a decade ago.

“She has a knack for the game; she knows where to be,” Giordano said of Albanese. “Her field sense is terrific. And she makes players around her better. That’s the best compliment I can give a player.”

Albanese’s scoring touch has helped Woodward deal with the absence of MacDonagh, although Giordano pointed out that the injured forward hardly has disappeared since bowing out of the lineup.

“She’s really stepped up” in terms of leadership, Giordano said. “It was a devastating blow to the team and to her personally, but she is every bit a part of the team as anybody.”

Woodward will start its league playoffs next week.