TURNER — It was a play that Tessa Benson might have been reliving in her mind for days.

As her Leavitt girls’ soccer team tried to rally Tuesday, she had the perfect pass, an open net and a prime opportunity to tie the game. But she missed.

“I knew after that I needed to pick it up and help the team instead of dwelling on it,” the sophomore midfielder said.

Later in regulation, Benson got another chance. This one, she’ll recalling fondly for a while.

After Victoria DeCoster scored to tie the game for Leavitt with 4:13 remaining, Mackenzie Varney sent a cross from the right corner similar to that she’d sent Benson earlier.

This time, Benson was ready at the far post. Her goal with 15 seconds left completed the Leavitt comeback for a 2-1 win over Medomak Valley.


“I was ecstatic,” Benson said. “Mackenzie made a great cross. I was lucky to be able to knock it in. I was so happy. With 15 seconds left, it was such a great thing to be able to pull through and win the game.”

Leavitt had just earned its first win of the season Monday against Erskine and followed that with the thrilling rally a day later.

“We’re so young,” Leavitt coach Chris Cifelli said. “So having a number of different ways to win and getting a lot of people involved is really important. Back-to-back is really important, too. To literally fight until the end was impressive.”

Leavitt (2-2-1) shook off a lackluster start and picked up its play in the second half. Trailing 1-0, the Hornets possessed the ball better and started generating better chances.

“We realized we had to come together more as a team and actually play well,” said DeCoster, a freshman midfielder. “The first half we were falling apart and weren’t playing as well as we usually can.”

Lilianna Cousineau and Shannon O’Malley led the push up front and helped spark Leavitt’s second half surge.  Kelsea Marschall, Varney, Benson, DeCoster and Amanda Poulin all helped the offense put pressure on the Panthers.


“I think we were playing really nice together and making great overlaps and passes,” said DeCoster.

O’Malley was sent in alone by a nice Cousineau pass, but her shot was saved by Medomak keeper Nicole Obuchon. Poulin had a try off a dead ball go wide. O’Malley’s cross from the right went to Benson with the open net. She had a defender on her to help break up the play.

“I just got tied up and mixed up,” said Benson. “I think I just misjudged the ball.”

Leavitt finally got the equalizer with 4:13 left. Marschall put the ball ahead. DeCoster found herself behind the defense with the ball and an open shot.

“I don’t usually play striker,” DeCoster said. “I had a great pass. If it wasn’t for that pass, I wouldn’t have gotten it.”

Medomak nearly answered right back when a Taylor Mason bid went wide. It was the Panthers lone shot of the second half. Then with 15 seconds left, Varney made the cross for Benson at the far post.


“I love the feeling of it and knowing we can really work together and pull it off,” DeCoster said. “We came together as a team really well.”

The Panthers (0-3) controlled much of the first half. Medomak went to the ball hard and possessed  for much of the first 40 minutes. With 4:55 left in the half, Brooke Benedict made a nice pass to the left wing. Mason was there for an open shot that made it 1-0.

Leavitt slowly started to pick up its game late in the half and came out with a stronger effort in the second half.

“I think there was a little bit of residual from playing yesterday in the first half,” Cifelli said. “We weren’t going to balls. Medomak, I give them credit, they really forced the issue in the first half.”

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