“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” —Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
Hope certainly lived on for the Falmouth High School boys’ soccer team Monday. Needing to secure five points in their last three games, the Clippers kept their dream of qualifying for the MIAA state tournament alive with a scoreless draw against Nauset High School at home last night. While a nil-nil final may not normally be worth celebrating, the Clippers sprinted out to goalie Keith Copeland and jumped up and down with joy. Nauset had handily won the first meeting between the teams last month.
It’s almost unthinkable that the Clippers could still be entertaining postseason hopes after starting the season off with five consecutive losses. However, after Monday's draw against the Warriors, the team will qualify if it is able to secure wins in each of its last two games. FHS is now 6-8-2 overall, having gone 6-3-2 since their abysmal start to the year.
Head coach Bill Andrade said that his team’s game plan was simple last night. They did not want to make anything easy for the Warriors, a very skillful passing team that quickly creates scoring chances.
“We didn’t give in, that was the thing. We pressured every single ball, all night long. I loved the effort,” Andrade said.
FHS clogged up the midfield throughout the game, with Nathan Estrela leading the charge with an inspired effort. Coach Andrade also pointed to the play of KJ Weber and Tyler Dufresne for helping to keep NHS off-balance throughout the game.
Falmouth’s scoring chances in the game mostly came in the first half. Sam Child was wiped out breaking up the left wing, which led to a free kick that Estrela put up front for a jump ball. The strike was solid, but inches too high for any of the Clippers to reach with their heads.
In the 37th minute, Estrela lined up a free kick that also came close. His bender, from the left wing corner, skimmed off the top of the crossbar.
Nauset had a great chance in the closing minutes of the first half, but Copeland came out to challenge the shooter and made a great stop from the doorstep. The ball caromed off of his body, and slightly behind him, but Theo Marchal swept in to knock the ball out of harm’s way.
Nauset also had the majority of the second half scoring bids, as the Clippers put a premium on defensive pressure. The bulk of the Warriors’ shots came from the perimeter, and the ones that were on net were handled easily by Copeland, who finished with nine saves in his shutout.
With hope still alive, the Clippers look to breathe even more life into it on Friday when they host Barnstable High School. The Red Raiders visit FHS for a 4 PM game. A win would make next Monday’s trip to Duxbury quite meaningful, something that would have seemed laughable five weeks ago.