(Lynn MA) He told me afterwards that he was “surprised that it went in.”
But in it went, and the goal by junior Jasper Paez gave #1 seed Bedford a 2-0 lead in the first half.
That turned out to be enough, despite a Lynnfield goal later in the half, for the Bucs (17-1-1) and they defeated the Pioneers, 3-1 on Saturday afternoon to claim the D3 North title.
That Lynnfield (12-9-1) even reached this game was remarkable.
“This was a great run for a tenth seed that barely got into the tournament,” said Pioneers coach Brent Munroe afterwards. “We were fifth out of six teams in our Cape Ann League division.”
“Sometimes you go down to a better team,” added Coach Munroe, “and that is what happened today.”
That Lynnfield scored a goal on Bedford may have been equally remarkable. The Bucs had gone ten straight games (late September) since they were last scored on.
I asked Bedford coach Dave Boschetto if he even remembered what it felt like to have a goal scored on his team: “I don’t recall what it felt like. We’ve only given up five all season.”
You knew going in that goals against the Bucs would be hard to come by. How about scoring goals? Bedford had that covered too.
Right off the bat they were in on Lynnfield. “We had a bit of a slow start,” said Coach Munroe. “We weren’t ready for their pace.”
Inside the first minute of play, sophomore Max Alper nearly drove home a header. It went just wide.
A minute later the Pioneers weren’t as fortunate. Dexter Kennedy’s hard shot caromed back to senior Ryan Knight. Ryan’s equally hard shot then went past Lynnfield GK Dante Gesamondo at 38:33.
It became obvious quickly that Bedford would be content to possess the ball continuously no matter what part of the field they were on.
“We wanted to hang onto the ball especially in the second half,” said Bedford goalie Chris Venuti post-game. “They were only sending one guy up.”
Jasper Paez registered the eventual game-winner at 23:17 of the first half.
Jasper got beyond defender Benjamin Sykes on the left side and put a shot into the far corner.
After that goal it was easy to imagine that Lynnfield, down two goals, was on its way to a very long afternoon.
But the Pioneers had other ideas.
Lynnfield turned up a goal that Coach Munroe said was “probably the best goal we scored all year.”
The Lynnfield goal was set up by a cross from freshman Henry Caulfield from the right side. Tommy Buston and Matheus Saramento both were in front of Bedford GK Chris Venuti as the ball sailed into the middle.
The LHS goal (4:42) put the Pioneers back into the game.
“We felt good at halftime, to be honest with you,” said Coach Munroe.
The Bucs would gain permanent separation 5+ minutes into the second half.
Dexter’s goal was very important. “His goal drew them out away from their goal,” said Coach Boschetto. “Lynnfield didn’t give up, but that cushion made us a little more comfortable so that we didn’t panic.”
The Bucs may not have panicked but the Pioneers Luke Martinho did his best to make that happen. His throw-ins were instant threats.
“I told #9 (Luke Martinho) after the game that I was pretty scared of his throws,” said Bucs goalie Chris Venuti. “He can put it anywhere. He can put it right on you or to someone sitting outside the box. You can’t see the ball. It’s a very dangerous play. We were lucky to defend it as well as we did.”
Coach Munroe: “Bedford’s possessions were awesome. They switched the field. They had really talented players at many positions.”
The Bucs also had depth. Every ten minutes another 5-6 players would substitute in.
“We know that everyone has out backs,” said Jasper Paez. “The subs coming in are going to work just as hard as you.”
Bedford reached the D3 state semi-finals by defeating three Cape Ann League teams. “We battled a couple of other Cape Ann League teams (North Reading, Newburyport) so we know that it is a good league,” said Coach Boschetto.
Coach Munroe: “I was really happy with our guys. We fought so hard. We lost to a great team.”
The Bucs certainly enjoyed winning the D3 North. The team from the Dual County League had been ousted in the quarterfinals in the four previous years.
Lynnfield won sixteen games in 2018 and lost in the D3 North finals to Wayland. This year looked to be a rebuilding one, but the Pioneers defeated the #7, #2, and #3 seeds to get to the finals.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)