(Beverly MA) Winchester will play some more soccer but there were times this afternoon when it wasn’t a certainty.
The #6 Sachems (12-3-5) needed a goal in regulation and a stop in the PK shootout to make it happen……and they got what they needed.
#3 Beverly (12-4-4) had their remarkable turnaround season come to an end. The Panthers didn’t make the tournament last season.
“I am impressed with what Edgar (Beverly head coach Edgar De Leon) has done with the Beverly program in a small amount of time,” said Winchester coach Vinnie Musto afterwards. “Beverly has nothing to be ashamed of.”
The crowd was enthusiastic and there was plenty to enjoy.
“It was fun to be here,” said Coach De Leon post-game. “The atmosphere was remarkable. It hasn’t been like this in Beverly for a couple of years.”
As the game wore on through a half and then twenty-five minutes of the second half you sensed that a goal would win it, but it didn’t.
The Panthers (Northeastern Conference) broke through with 12:55 remaining in regulation. “Sam Phillips took a shot from the right that bounced off their goalie,” recalled Coach De Leon. “Senior Joel Platt was there to put it away.”
Winchester was in trouble, but they regrouped.
“We called a timeout after their goal,” said Coach Musto. “We regained our composure and realized that there was enough time to come back.”
The Sachems cashed the equalizer 4+ minutes later.
“We’ve worked on building on one side and then moving it to the other side where the open space is,” said Coach Musto. “The ball came from the right and our outside back (Dylan Ross) had the composure to finish it with a header.”
“The ball came from Ben Van Halle our junior captain,” explained Dylan post-game. “I was just hoping I wasn’t offsides. You never know.”
It was Dylan’s third goal of the season. He also scored in the Sachems 4-0 win over Boston Latin Academy in the previous round.
Into overtime the game went. Beverly had good chances in both OTs.
Jackson Erwin got in on the left in the first overtime, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
In the second OT, Nick Braganca had his head on a corner kick, but his shot went directly to Winchester GK Kyle Ettenhofer.
In the shootout, Beverly took the advantage when GK Finn Crocker lunged to his right to stop the 4th Winchester shooter (Dylan Ross). The future of the Sachems soccer season was now on the shoulders of first-year senior Kyle Ettenhofer.
Kyle did his part, made a save and the two teams continued alternating shots.
Kyle’s next save won it for Winchester.
“I was shaking in my boots,” recalled Kyle of his game-winning stop. “The kicker was a lefty. I thought about going right and just went left to get it. It is all guesswork.”
Onto the field poured the Winchester faithful. The team from the Middlesex League will play again on Wednesday against Belmont at Manning Field in Lynn.
The pressure on teams and individuals in these shootouts is enormous. Each participant gets a long, lonely walk from midfield to the penalty line before getting their opportunity. The result is the classic “thrill of victory and agony of defeat.”
Winchester’s Dylan Ross experienced both sides. He had the goal that tied the game and then in the shootout had his shot deflected by Beverly GK Finn Crocker. “That miss in the shootout brought me back down to earth in a hurry!” exclaimed Dylan.
Coach De Leon: “This is what tournament play is all about. Two really good teams going at each other. I couldn’t be prouder of my boys. They defended their hearts out.”
Coach Musto: “The shootout is an awful way for someone to go out. Our keeper (Kyle Ettenhofer) was fantastic today.”
I’ve been told that MIAA does not stand for Missing In Action Always. You wonder, however, when you come to a tournament game and there is no charge, no programs, and little crowd-control presence. Fortunately, the two officials did a remarkable job of making sure that the crowd was controlled and the game, itself, went smoothly.
Beverly missed the tournament the last two seasons.
Winchester is now 7-1-2 in away games.
In 2014, Beverly lost to Winchester in PKs.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)