The first game of the 2021 season could not have gotten off to a better start for the Sandwich High School boys’ soccer team. Unfortunately, it really could not have ended much worse.
After scoring a goal just two minutes into the season and dominating most of the first half, Sandwich saw Plymouth North turn things around and leave town with a demonstrative 4-1 win over the Knights.
Matt Hemeon put away a feed from Jacob Sutton just 102 seconds into the game for SHS to make it 1-0. The Knights went on to carry much of the first half, but the Eagles got goals in the 21st and 38th minutes to finish off the half. The second one, just before halftime, demoralized the home team quite a bit.
Head coach Alfredo Alvarenga said he really liked the way his team attacked Plymouth North early on, but things changed in the second half. After giving up the go-ahead goal just before halftime, SHS then surrendered two in the first six minutes of the second, just 35 seconds apart, and that was that.
“I think it was a combination. We were flat-footed, and we were moving the ball really well, but then we let them get behind our back line and they started playing short, short, long and they put some runners, some fresh leg, in there and they caused trouble,” Sandwich Alvarenga said. “They forced us to change what we were doing, and during that stretch (early in the second half) we just broke down and then they scored two goals. That was hard to recover from.”
Ben Young did the bulk of the damage for the visiting team. The Plymouth star forward finished with a hat trick, netting the first, second and fourth goals for the Eagles. Bradlee Sorenson had the third goal, at 4:50 of the second half, and had also assisted on the first goal of the day for PNHS.
“We had two clearing scoring opportunities (early) that we didn’t put away, and we had a chance to put those away and then change our tactics a bit,” Alvarenga said. “We were the ones chasing the game (late). Just five minutes in the second half, and that changed the game...it was a tale of two games today. We completely dominated the first half with good possession, good touches and good runs. I think our energy level wasn’t there in the second half. It was like night and day.”
Coach Alvarenga said he was particularly pleased with a few of the Knights’ players. He singled out the work of Braden Gilfoy in the midfield and Matt DiGiacamo on the right wing.