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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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Top-seed Masco gets easy win over East Boston, 3-0, in North Division 1 boys soccer quarterfinals

Keyon Olia (10) set up nicely by Chip Sherman for first Masco goal.

Chip Sherman (he had two assists) heads toward the Jets goal.

(Topsfield)  Now let’s get down to some serious soccer!

#1 seed Masconomet made easy work of the visiting East Boston Jets, 3-0, on a sunny Tuesday afternoon and moved on to a Thursday night matchup with #3 seed St. John’s Prep.

That Division 1 North semifinal contest (7:30PM at Manning Field in Lynn) on Thursday should be special.  The Prep is 16-1-2 (only loss to Weymouth on September 29th) and rated 3rd in the Boston Globe Top 20 teams. Masco (18-0-2) is rated #1 by the Globe.  The Chieftains last loss was in the Division 1 state finals to Ludlow.

But you’re reading this to find out about the Eastie/Masco game………sorry for the digression.

The Chieftains got a quick start in this Division 1 quarterfinal match by scoring (Keyon Olia) in the first 1 ½ minutes. The home team went on to kept the pressure on the #9 seed most of the game.

Chip Sherman earned the assist on the first goal with a terrific pass from the right into the middle where Keyon had time to line up a hard shot.

The Jets had a few shots toward Masco GK John Black but they were either long direct kicks or grounders.

Masco, on the other hand, came close often in both halves.  Their willingness to pass the ball, even when they were in close, set up countless near-misses from the front of the Eastie net.

Freshman goalie Edwin Avelar robbed Alex Gikas from point blank in front early in the second half.

Colby Farmer drills the second Chieftain goal.

One save that Edwin couldn’t make was off a shot from just inside the box by Masco’s Colby Farmer late in the first half.  Edwin had a very good look at the shot coming in, but at the last second teammate Eddy Umanzor slide across in front of him and deflected Colby’s shot inside the near post.  This gave the home team a 2-0 lead.

Chip Sherman earned his second assist in the second half on Goal #3.  Masco’s Max Craig was taken down near the box and Chip took the direct kick that resulted.  Instead of blasting a shot toward the goal, the Cape League Player of the Year fed teammate Adam Grammer all alone in close.  Adam had time to fake at least one shot before netting a score with seven minutes left.

Edwin Avelar makes a save for East Boston.

Despite the loss, Eastie displayed some impressive dribbling skills. They forced a lot of defensive misses going east to west.  Going north to south was much harder.  Masco’s fresh legs (they substituted frequently) gave Eastie few runs of any length.

Masconomet looked awfully good in this one.  Their positioning prevented East Boston from putting consecutive passes together.  And the Masco passing helped them buy control-time no matter what part of the field they were in.

Let’s see how they do against a very good St. John’s team.

I never can quite understand why schools don’t make rosters available especially during tournament games.  I ended up getting the Eastie roster from their coach.  I got the Masco roster because the parent of a player was willing to go across the field at halftime to get it for me.  (Thanks, by the way!)

A good crowd of Masco supporters attended.

I wonder if we’ll remember the result of this game or the Presidential election result longer.

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

Eddy Umanzor (13) moves in to stop Paul Criscione in the second half.

Mike Ennis (8) breaks in

Mike Ennis escapes

Adam Grammer contests Ben Lara (4) in the air.

Masco goalie John Black takes in a long Eastie shot.

Paul Criscione

Adam Grammer (scored 3rd goal) sees an opening

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