Dover-Sherborn Knocks Out MHS Boys’ Soccer
By: Rich Maclone
Dover-Sherborn’s nickname is the Raiders, but on Tuesday afternoon they easily could have gone by the moniker “Lightning.” D-S struck with a flash early, netting three goals before anyone had broken a sweat and they rolled from that point, advancing into the third round of the MIAA Division III south tournament with a lopsided 7-0 win over the Mashpee High School boys’ soccer team.
The visiting squad from Dover-Sherborn (14-5-1) laid a wallop on the Falcons out of the gate and Mashpee never recovered. MHS Head Coach Ed Furtek said that the barrage forced the Falcons to stray from their original game plan, and that a little panic did set in when they went down by so much so early. “It certainly changes the game...I think they’re definitely the toughest team we’ve seen all year,” Furtek said. “They’re an excellent team. We’ve a very good team, they’re an excellent team. Sometimes in the tournament, there’s some games where you’re over your head and unfortunately for us, this was one of them. They’re the best team we’ve played this year, by far. I think they’ll win it all.”
Just 45 seconds into the game the Raiders were already celebrating a goal. Walker Littlehale jumped on a loose ball in front of the MHS net and banged it behind Connor Murphy to begin the Dover-Sherborn torrent. Two minutes later, D-S struck again.
This time it was Sean Forward that scored for the visitors as he struck a pinpoint shot inside the near post to double his team’s lead. Mashpee was rattled at that point, but the goal that really set the downward spiral in motion was the one that followed. At the five-minute mark Perry Fitz headed in a pretty corner kick from Littlehale to make it a three-goal game. “It’s kind of funny, because towards the end of the season we weren’t scoring a lot of goals...hopefully we’re hitting our stride and making it happen,” D-S Head Coach Joe Gruseck said.
Midway through the first half the Falcons had their best scoring bid of the game. Scott Matoian sent a corner kick across the goal mouth that Nate Peterson dove for, heading it perfectly for the near post. Henry Dresser-Klutchman came up with the clutch save for the Raiders, and he moved laterally to get to the spot and put his body between the ball and the goal line at the last second, deflecting it wide.
Dover-Sherborn’s defensive job on the Mashpee big guns was stellar. Furtek’s top three threats, Romeo Grey, Peterson and Matoian found themselves marked vigorously throughout the contest and could not find room to operate with the soccer ball at their feet. “Some teams have been able to take two away, and the third one sneaks in, but they seemed to be playing more than 11 men. They have a very deep bench, and I think fatigue was a factor as well,” Furtek said. Gruseck said that their top priority heading into the game was to not allow Grey or Peterson to beat them. He said that his club did a great job of executing that game plan. “We knew, a big guy like (Grey), if we give him space, he’s a 200 runner, we didn’t want to give him the lanes to run. We knew Peterson was their playmaker in the middle, so we figured that if we could [get] in the middle and make him think about defense a little more than offense that we could maybe take his head out of the game a little bit...they were threats, but it was a team effort (defensively).”
Mashpee was able to settle things down in the middle of the first half, but another bevy of late action by Dover-Sherborn made the second half a formality. In the 31st minute, Geoff Stevens popped in the rebound of a shot by Robert Browne to make it a 4-0 game, and then, with just a minute before the halftime whistle, D-S scored their fifth goal. Jake Frankenfeld booted in a loose ball in front of the Mashpee net to make it a 5-0 game at the break. “I think they were faster, you can’t make any mistakes against that team. They play the ball well in the air and they’re very well organized, not that we’re not, but it’s a game of millimeters and I think that they took advantage of Connor’s inexperience in the net. He’s had an excellent season, with a very stout defense in front of him, but he’s still learning and they’ve got some veterans that took advantage of it,” Furtek said.
D-S scored the only goals of the second half. Stevens got his second of the game in the 62nd minute with a nice one-touch on a through ball. Nick Jeffries added the seventh goal a minute later, chipping one from the perimeter over Murphy, who had come out to take away the shooting angle. While the final score was a disappointment, Furtek said that this team was one that he thoroughly enjoyed coaching, and that he hated to see it end in any way, let alone such a down one.
“The tough part is, I hope that this doesn’t take away from the kids what was just an excellent season for them. Everybody came together, everybody worked hard. This is the season I’ve been waiting for for 20 years. It’s really been a dream, but the reality is that you wake up from the dream once in a while,” the coach said. Earlier in the week, Mashpee had opened the tournament with a decisive win over Cardinal Spellman, eliminating the Cardinals with a 3-0 win.
Jeff Lynch scored the only goal of the first half, redirecting a shot from 10 yards out in the eighth minute for the eventual game-winner. Peterson gave the team some breathing room by scoring on a penalty kick in the 51st minute. He sniped a laser to the lower-right corner to make it 2-0. Riley LaCroix added the final goal on a header, finishing off a nice corner kick play. Lynch delivered the ball from the flag to the middle, where Peterson got a head on it, redirecting toward Lynch, who put it in with his noggin. Mashpee ends the season at 16-4.
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