Late goal gets St. John’s Prep past Masconomet 2-1 in Division 1 North boys soccer semifinals

Eagles rush to celebrate D1 North semifinals win over top-seed Masconomet.

Keyon Olia (10) and Mike Ennis (8) make a late run

(Lynn) St. John’s Prep scored with just over four minutes left in regulation and defeated Masconomet, 2-1, in Division 1 North boys semifinals soccer on Friday afternoon/evening at Manning Field in Lynn.

Senior Bruce Ocko tallied the game-winner converting a loose ball in front of the Masco net assisted by Lev Kazelyan.

The Eagles will now face Somerville (19-0-2) at Manning Field on Sunday at noon for the D1 North title.

Top-seed Masco (18-1-2) had not lost a game since last November’s, 2-1, D1 state title setback to Ludlow.

#4 seed St. John’s (17-1-2) had the speed to match Masco and the upper hand in total corner kicks, direct kicks, and offensive end throw-ins.  (I don’t believe that the Cape Ann League champs had seen the kind of pressure the Eagles put on during their twenty-game unbeaten streak.)

Adam Grammer (7) shoots over Eagle GK Ben Alpern

The Chieftains came close to getting more goals a couple of times: Jack Heintzelman hit the crossbar near the end of the first half and Adam Grammer sped in on the left and narrowly missed wide right halfway into the second half.

Junior Matt Chilton set up teammate Nate Schmidt for the first Eagle score at 20:44.  Matt broke open down the left sidelines and had time to look up, sight Nate surging down the middle, and get a pass to Nate that he could head into the net to GK Derek Grammer’s left.

It wasn’t a minute later that Masco responded with a goal to tie the game.  The goal was off of a Chip Sherman corner kick. Chip’s kick resulted in a loose ball in front and Jack Heintzelman drove it home.

As the rest of the half was played out and much of the second half went by, I suspected that this game would require overtime.  But St. John’s had the better chances and made one pay off avoiding overtime.

Very impressed with senior Bruce Ocko.  Not just because he scored the winning goal.  Most of the game he was part of the last line of Eagle defense.  He also launched several direct kicks and throw-ins into the scoring area in front of the Masco net.

Chip Sherman goes down but does not draw a penalty.

Last look at Masco’s Chip Sherman.  The senior has been recruited by division one Sienna.  Last year I saw Chip draw a penalty in a tourney game at Manning Field and then collect the PK for the game winner.  Chip tried to draw a penalty kick late in this game but the referee treated Chip’s effort as a dive and ignored it.

Tough loss for the Chieftains who surely hoped for another chance at a D1 state title.  With eleven prominent seniors on the 2012 squad, it may be a while before they’ll challenge again.  But we shall see on that one.

Masco had given up just four goals all season.  To see them give up two in one game was a big surprise.

St. John’s Prep has won the Catholic Conference three straight years.

Manning Field is a terrific venue for soccer.  Plenty of seats and parking.  Great sightlines.  Nice turf surface.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Eagle goalie Ben Alpern

Bruce Ocko (2) gets congratulated on game winner

Nate Schmidt (17) and Alex Gikas (14) chase a loose ball in front of the Masco net

Matt Chilton (14) prepares to set up teammate Nate Schmidt for the first Eagle goal.

Jack Heintzelmans shot rolls into Eagle net

Masco GK Derek Grammer saves

Brooks Clark lines up a shot

Eagle GK Ben Alpern jumps to make a save.

Bruce Ocko (2) cuts off Mike Ennis (8)

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