GLOUCESTER — The Gloucester Fishermen boys soccer team came into Tuesday’s Senior Night game against Danvers wanting to accomplish a few things.
First and foremost the Fishermen wanted to send their seniors home on a high note. The team also wanted to prove that its last game against rival and NEC Small champion Danvers, a 1-1 tie in Danvers, was no fluke and it wanted show the rest of the Northeastern Conference that it is a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly going into the post-season.
Although the Falcons spoiled senior night with a 2-1 victory at New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium, the Fishermen still accomplished their latter two goals controlling play against a Danvers team that has just one loss all season and looks to be on its way to a high seed in the Division 2 North State Tournament.
The Falcons came into tonight’s make-up game with heavy-hearts as they mourn the loss of beloved teacher Colleen Ritzer, who was murdered last week by a 14 year old student, they clearly wanted a win in their first game back from the lay-off.
The Fishermen (7-6-3) played great defense the entire game and outplayed their division rivals for the majority of the contest. But the NEC Small champions never gave up and took advantage of Gloucester’s missed opportunities with the game-winning goal coming in the 72nd minute of the game to break a 1-1 tie and preserve a 2-1 win.
The Falcons scored their first goal quickly, finding the back of the net in the second minute of the game on a goal from forward Nikolay Sakhin. But the Fishermen picked up their defensive execution from there and a huge left handed glove save by Sophomore Goalkeeper Treigh Worell in the 14th minute kept it 1-0 and helped shift the momentum the Fishermen’s way.
Senior Captain Calvin Kipruto almost tied the game, in the 25th minute when he just missed a breakaway goal. Kipruto, however, came back and scored a goal during the 33rd minute of the first half and tied the game going into the second half, with the assist coming from fellow Senior Captain Alex Dahlmer.
During the second half Gloucester showed even stronger defense and was even more aggressive to start out. But as the game wore on it was Danvers’ championship defense that proved to be too much for the Fishermen.
Gloucester kept the ball in the Danvers zone for most of the second half, and most of the game, but the Danvers defense just wouldn’t let up denying every strong rush that the Fishermen threw at them. Kipruto’s bicycle-kick with 34:30 left was an excellent attempt but Danvers Goalkeeper Cameron Bornstein was right there to keep it from between from traveling between the pipes.
The Falcons started to make a surge to end the second half and late go-ahead goal by defenseman Jackson McPherson ended up being the game-winner. Danvers showed why it is the NEC Small champs by wearing down its opponent and taking advantage of Gloucester’s mistakes.
Gloucester dominated for most of this game and controlled the ball, looking like the better team.
“We beat ourselves. We were doing so well dominating on the outsides, bringing the ball up and distributing, and we decided to change it and bring everything up the middle,” Gloucester head coach Armando Marnoto said. “Once we did that everything got congested and we just played into Danvers’ hands.”
Gloucester now turns its attention to the Division 2 North State tournament. The Fishermen are riding a three-game losing streak into the postseason but are still confident that they can pull off an upset or two. The MIAA state tournament pairings will be released this afternoon.
I think we can do well (in the state tournament) but we got to get rid of doing silly things that we do,” Marnoto said. “If we can clean that up we can run with any team and we can play defensive with any team.”