GLOUCESTER-- Heading into the regular season Gloucester head boys soccer coach Armando Marnoto stressed fitness.
The head coach made it a point to whip his team into shape during the preseason with lots of running at practice with the intent of wearing opponents down late in games.
In Thursday’s home opener at New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium, Gloucester did just what its coach had envisioned in the preseason as it was the fresher team in the second half en route to an important 3-2 win.
“That was part of our preseason planning, to get the guys in shape to last 80 minutes,” Marnoto said. “I told them at halftime, we will wear them down in the second half and that’s what we did. It was a gutsy win, Marblehead is a really good team.”
The win was an important one for the Fishermen, who move to 3-1 on the year, a far cry from the 2-2 record a loss would have given them.
“Walking off the field tonight at 2-2 would have been unacceptable,” Senior captain Kevin Rogers said. “This was a huge win for us in our first home game. We started strong and finished strong.”
With the score tied at 1-1 at the half, the Fishermen took control over final 40 minutes in what was an evenly played matchup in the first half.
Gloucester continuously beat Marblehead to loose balls and won the vast majority of 50/50 balls in the second frame while ratcheting up the offensive pressure.
In the 54th minute Gloucester took a 2-1 lead off the foot of senior captain Calvin Kipruto, who curled a free kick just inside the far post from just outside the box past a six man wall.
Gloucester’s lead, however, was short lived as Marblehead’s sustained pressure was rewarded when Kaya Ulcay blasted a shot into the back of the net to tie the score at 2-2.