During the regular season, the Gloucester boys soccer team earned the reputation as one of the area's most potent offensive teams.
The Fishermen can light up the scoreboard and score goals in bunches, but on Tuesday in the Division 3 North First Round against Lynnfield, they ran into a tough defense that was able to hold their offense in check.
Led by a goal in the opening minute of the second half, No. 10 Lynnfield knocked off No. 7 Gloucester, 1-0 to advance to the sectional quarterfinals.
Gloucester's season comes to an end at 10-7-2.
"It was a well played game, a true state tournament game and someone has to win and someone has to lose," Gloucester head coach Armando Marnoto said. "It stings to score the amount of goals we did this season and then get eliminated on a shutout. But it was a good season for the boys, they're mostly a young team and they gained some valuable experience."
The Pioneers did a good job on the back line containing Gloucester's dangerous scoring trio of Northeastern Conference MVP Anthony Suazo, Andrew Coelho and Robert Mugabe.
Led by the speed of Luke Martinho on the back line, the Fishermen could not find a ton of room on through balls and crosses to put quality shots on goal.
Gloucester's defense, led by Jack Patten and Richard Jabba, was also strong in the first half and while Lynnfield had a territorial edge, shots on goal were even at the half.
In the second half, the Pioneers opened with the game's lone goal in the first minute as Thomas Buston ripped a shot from a tough angle on the right wing that found its way inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
From there, Gloucester adjusted by switching to three strikers. But Lynnfield countered that by bringing back a fifth defender to clog up the passing lanes.
"We knew adding an extra striker would put some extra pressure on their defense," Marnoto said. "And it did but they added an extra defender and when they won the ball they got it out wide. That gave them time to regroup and kept us from getting into our shape."
Both goal keepers were also a factor.
Gloucester had a few chances in the final 20 minutes, but Lynnfield goalie Dante Gesamondo was there. Gesamondo made a big stop on Suazo with 15 minutes to go with a dive to his right, he then went on to take a goal away from Mugabe with another dive to his right in the final five minutes.
The Fishermen defense also did a good job holding off some of Lynnfield's powerful offensive players. Patten cleared a shot off the goal line in the second half while keeper Max Sperry made several big stops to keep his team in the game. Sperry's best save came on a header after a cross into the box where he dove to his right to keep it a 1-0 game.
"The goalies were my stars of the game," Marnoto said.
Gloucester also did a solid job defending long throw ins from the sideline as Martinho could reach the goal from the sidelines and their throw ins played like a free kick.
"Both teams had their chances and I thought both teams probably could have scored another goal or two," Marnoto said. "We did a good job defending, especially on their throw ins. We really worked on that this week, we just needed to be a little cleaner on the play where they scored."