(Lynn MA) He wasn’t where he was supposed to be……and the Brookline Warriors boys’ soccer team can be thankful for that.
Brookline (#9 seed) won the Division 1 title yesterday at Manning Field in Lynn, 2-1, in the second overtime over Newton North (#3 seed).
Both teams are from the Bay State Conference.
Brookline, with the victory, notches its first boys’ soccer title.
Isaac Hoffess put a knee to an incoming ball from Julian Gravereaux to end the game in the final two minutes of the second overtime.
The tense struggle, however, might never have reached OT if not for Brookline senior Toby Prabhu-Schlosser.
Toby is part of the Brookline defense, not offense. He plays back. He protects. But with a one-goal deficit and a season on the line, Toby felt a need to be elsewhere.
“Normally, I stay back but there wasn’t much time left,” said Toby afterwards. “It was kind of an impulse on my end.”
Toby became an extra body in the box area and, as it turned out, was one more body than the Tigers’ defense could account for.
“My left wing (Rafael Matta) played me in the middle,” recalled Toby. “I didn’t feel a man on my back, so I turned toward the goal. I saw the top corner open, and I just went for it.”
Toby hit the open top corner and, with 6:48 left in regulation, Brookline was even (1-1) with Newton North.
“I don’t think I was supposed to be there, but Coach (Beaulieu-Jones) wasn’t mad about it,” added Toby with a laugh.
I detected no madness from Coach Beaulieu-Jones post-game: “Toby has been really defensive this year. That was probably the first real shot he’s taken this year. It was a missile into the far corner.”
In every previous post-season game, the Warriors (14-3-6) had won by only one goal each time. They were used to the tight finishes.
Brookline entered today’s title game with a scoreless tie and a 2-1 win against Newton North this season.
“We came back in the regular season when they (Newton North) scored with eight minutes left,” recalled Warriors’ goalie Max Kuriyel afterwards. “We knew we could do it.”
The Warriors needed a comeback after Rialto Janeiro put the Tigers up, 1-0, sixteen minutes into the second half.
Rialto and teammate Marc Hiranandani generated pressure in the Brookline end on numerous occasions.
The only breakthrough, however, was Rialto’s second-half tally.
“(Will) Rooney put a shot on and I deflected it,” said GK Max Kuriyel. “The ball came off the post and Rialto got it by me. It was a rebound and nothing I could do.”
Max did lunge for a save attempt, but the ball was past him.
The Tigers’ lead held up until Toby Prabhu-Schlosser evened things seventeen minutes later.
Both teams threatened in the first fifteen-minute overtime. Will Rooney had the best chance and did everything but score in that first OT on a shot from the left from close in.
There were corner kicks and free kicks in both overtimes that could have led to an ending in this one, but they didn’t.
Recalling the game winner, Issac Heffess said, “Julian (Gravereaux) had the ball. I knew he had good technique, so I started making a run toward the goal. The ball came to me, and I kneed it over the keeper.”
There was actually no time for Isaac to do anything but knee the ball. “I was in very close when I got the ball. He (the keeper) came out and I think was a little bit hesitant so I had a chance to get a knee on it……..and it bounced in.”
“It was crazy,” added Isaac. “It still hasn’t settled in that we’ve won. It feels great.”
“Isaac has been a humble star for us,” said Coach Beaulieu-Jones. “All he needs is a moment.”
“Once Isaac got in there, I knew he was going to finish,” said Max Kuriyel.
Isaac is committed to UNH next year.
Max Kuriyel: “I really started to focus after their goal and the saves started coming. I knew that I had to do it for my boys in the back line. They’ve played so well all season.”
Coach Beaulieu-Jones: “We’ve played each other several times. We suspected that those games might be a preview of the state title game. Newton North transitions faster than any team in the state. That makes them extremely dangerous. Every time we played them has been tight. Either team could have won today.”
The weather was cold but not too cold.
Terrific crowd. I have been to Manning Field many times and I don’t recall a crowd this size. Lots of students with plenty of chanting and enthusiasm.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)