Lancers Boys Soccer Fall In Finale to Medway 3-0
In a game where both teams needed a win to qualify for the playoffs, the Stallions beat the Lancers 3-0.
An entire season came down to one game for Norton and Medway. Both with 16 points to their record, the final game of the year was a de facto play in game for the MIAA soccer tournament. A win meant they were in while anything else meant the end of the season. The strong effort early by the Lancers slowly turned into a Medway victory as the Mustangs outscored the Lances 3-0 en route to a tournament birth.
Despite a couple of early chances that saw Kevin Rogers just miss the top of the net in the 13th minute and Kevin O’Leary’s top shelf shot tipped over the net in the 14th minute, it was Medway that got on the board first.
An attempted clear went wrong as the ball deflected off of Matt Coakley’s leg near the goal and into the Norton goal in the 23rd minute. The deflection was one of those bad luck moments where there was simply no time to react to the deflection and keep the ball out of the net.
“Its soccer. You gotta rebound. That team (Medway) works hard and finds a way into the back of the net and they never gave up,” said Lancers coach Eric Greene.
The Lancers continued to get opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net. A ball off a throw in found its way to O’Leary’s feet near the penalty box in the 32nd minute but went wide right on the shot.
The frustration continued when a well-placed ball by the Lancers into the penalty box resulted in a header going over the crossbar in the 54th minute of play. It continued the trend of great shots falling just a bit short.
“We had some good shots, real good shots,” said Greene.
The Stallions struck again when Johnny Aviza found the back of the net in the 62nd minute to give Medway a 2-0 lead with less than 19 minutes to play in the game.
The move to the 4-5-1 defensive formation by Medway proved to be the end for Norton. Unable to get anything past the Stallion’s defense, the Lancers quickly ran out of options to overcome the 2-goal deficit.
“They’re (Medway) going to pack it in and make sure they really get this win and we’re going to move people forward and its going to be one on one battles,” said Green of his strategy to play against the 4-5-1.
A final goal came from a Justin Kaplon shot that saw him race down the right wing for a goal in the 74th minute of play.
It was a rough game for a Lancers team in desperate need of a win. With great shots against Medway, it was Austin Aviza’s goalkeeping that shutout the Lancers and kept them off the board.
“He(Austin) stepped up and made some really great saves. Those were some good shots. Those were going in and he made two big saves,” said Greene.
Norton will end the season with a 5-7-6 record and 16 points. Medway will go on to the tournament with a record of 6-6-6 and 18 points. The Stallions will find out their opponent on Thursda,y Nov. 3 when the MIAA releases its tournament pairings for soccer.