GRAFTON -- In sports, there are few sure things. Variables seem to always come into play and change the outcome of a play, game or even season. With that being said, the Groton-Dunstable boys' soccer team repeating as Division 2 Central Mass. champions was about as sure of a thing as there ever will be. The Crusaders ran roughshod over the competition, compiling a 22-2 shot advantage, culminating with a 6-1 trouncing of 10th-seeded Tyngsborough in the final Sunday night at Grafton High School.
"I thought that we were talented enough to be able to really come out in this game and score some goals early and settle this in the first 40 minutes," Groton-Dunstable coach Sean Wisbey said. "I would put my team on any field against anyone any day. I'm not afraid of anybody."
That type of bravery is helped when a coach has the one-two scoring punch of Nate Pomeroy and Nick Tornaritis. Pomeroy, who will add to his collection of hardware this off-season scored twice while Tornaritis, who has been dominant in his first varsity season, recorded a hat trick and an assist in the blowout.
"I think what you are seeing right now is that a lot of teams are keying on Nate," said Wisbey. "What they are not remembering is Nick."
It took just under eight minutes for Tornaritis to make his mark in his first District final. The sophomore collected the ball in the middle of the field before making a run down the left side.
Midway through the 15th minute, Tornaritis was taken down in the process of taking a shot in the middle of the box, setting up a penalty kick. Pomeroy got the call and easily placed a shot inside the right post to double the Crusaders advantage.
Tornaritis struck for a second goal at 25:53 to increase the lead. After collecting the ball near midfield, Tornaritis made a run through roughly half of the Tigers defense with little resistance before getting to the middle of the box and sliding a low rolling shot inside the left post to put Groton-Dunstable up 3-0.
Five minutes later, the Crusaders capped off the first half scoring by showing a bit of their depth. Mike Keating sent a long throw-in off the right sideline towards the middle of the box. The ball made it through a group of defenders to the foot of Morgan Manthous, who pushed home a shot from 10 yards out to sent Groton-Dunstable to the half holding a 4-0 lead.
For as impressive as the Crusaders offensive display was over the first 40 minutes, their defense was just as good. Often living in the shadow of their high-scoring counterparts, the defense allowed just one shot on net in the first half that was easily turned away by Connor Maguire as Groton-Dunstable played a complete first half of soccer.
After allowing a Paul Sickinger tally seven minutes into the second half, the Crusaders put the game on ice with a pair of goals in a short period of time. Tornaritis capped off his hat trick with a header off a Dan McGuiness cross while Pomeroy finished things off with a header off a Manthous feed, as Groton-Dunstable completed the repeat with the five-goal win.
"We are seeing what Matt is capable of," said Wisbey. "We've built our gameplan around what people are trying to do to Nate. What we're seeing, like in the last week of September and the first week of October, is those two are really starting to light it up again."