Mashpee Boys' Soccer Has 10-Game Winning Streak Stopped
By: Rich Maclone
It was an absolutely perfect spot for Abington to be in on Wednesday afternoon. The Green Wave came to town in a perfect position to sneak up on the Mashpee High School boys’ soccer team, and that’s exactly what they did.
Less than 24 hours earlier, the Falcons were celebrating a convincing 2-0 win over East Bridgewater that had given MHS sole possession of first place in the South Shore League. With two big contributors, Scott Matoian and Tyler Burtis, out of action due to injuries, and the emotions from having knocked off EB to move into first having been spent the day before, the Falcons were ripe for the upset, and Abington delivered it.
With two, second-half goals, including the game-winner with less than four minutes to go, the Green Wave posted a 2-1 victory erasing the Falcons’ slim lead atop the SSL and halted the team’s 10-game winning streak. Mashpee is now 12-2 overall and tied, again, with EB for first in the SSL at 10-2.
“You can’t make excuses; you have to play hard every day out,” Head Coach Ed Furtek said. “Was there a little bit of a letdown? Yes, I think so, but every game in this league is tough and you have to expect that you’re going to get the best game from the other team.”
Not having Matoian and Burtis on the field against Abington certainly was a hindrance for the Falcons. Matoian is without question the team’s unsung hero. Romeo Grey and Nate Peterson are vying for the team lead in goals, and both have netted double figures for the season, but Matoian has been their prime set-up man and distributes the ball adroitly. Burtis is another player who does not grab headlines, but gets results. The hard-nosed fullback brings a physical presence to the field and is the type of player that everyone wants to have on their team, but does not like to play against. Both are hoping to return to the lineup sooner rather than later but are probably looking at missing a few games in the meantime.
“We have to get refocused and if we have to play without those guys, we have to play better without them,” Furtek said.
Abington’s Rob McClafferty was the hero for the Green Wave. The striker had a pair of unassisted goals, including a bomb past Connor Murphy in the 76th minute to win it. His first goal came in the 50th minute as he broke a scoreless tie with a nice shot for the Wave.
Mashpee answered back in the 67th minute. Peterson slid a nice through ball for Grey, who ran onto it and put it home with ease to knot things up. “When it’s working, they just make it look so easy,” Furtek said.
Unfortunately, that would be it for the MHS offense, though. Abington did a nice job of slowing down the potent MHS forwards and scored the big, late goal to secure the upset.
A day earlier, Mashpee was celebrating as they the visiting Vikings from East Bridgewater, 2-0.
Grey broke a scoreless tie in the 35th minute as he put away a feed from Peterson, who headed the ball across the goal crease for his teammate. Just a minute later Mashpee scored again, this time on a shot by Matoian. The senior ran onto a feed from Grey and unloaded a bomb for the far post that whistled behind the goalkeeper to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead, one that they’d hold the rest of the way.
Connor Murphy had a standout game in the net for the Falcons. The goalie was tested early on, right out of the gate, and made a nice lunging stop and went on to halt everything else thrown his way. He was tested several times late in the game as the Vikings were trying to loosen the kitchen sink to throw at him. Jared Burns had a chance to put his team on the board in the 81st minute, but his bid sailed over the crossbar as the Vikes failed to capitalize the one time that they had a Murphy dead to rights. A minute later the Vikings had back-to-back corner kicks that resulted in frustrations, the first one Murphy defended away and the second one was kicked wide by EBHS. With under six minutes left, Burns had another good chance, but his hard-struck ball was pushed over the crossbar by Murphy.
Tyler Shute, Kevin Ronhock, and Burtis all made big defensive plays in the game. Burtis frustrated the Vikings with his persistent physical nature. Both Shute and Ronhock cleared balls out of the crease early in the second half that had trouble written all them.
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