Ipswich 2(2 OT)
’This is not the most talented team we have had, but the kids worked their butts off and showed a lot of heart and we peaked at the right time.’ – Tom Hill, Bromfield boys soccer coach
BROCKTON — Who would have thunk it?
The Bromfield boys soccer team’s all-for-one and one-for-all attitude allowed their season to conclude with the happiest of endings when the Trojans slipped past Ipswich 3-2 in double overtime to earn the Division 3 State Championship on Saturday.
White-hot Josh Lyvers’ second goal of the game a minute into the second overtime was the difference-maker. Lyvers took a pass from Ian Rothkopf on left wing and ripped a shot past Ipswich goaltender Sean Fitzgerald to give Bromfield its sixth state championship. The goal was Lyvers’ ninth of the playoffs of the 12 that the Trojans scored in posting five consecutive wins.
But the win again showcased the team unity that lifted the Trojans and allowed them to achieve the highest prize. Every Bromfield player contributed with focus and 100 percent effort, and anything less wouldn’t have gotten the job done.
“We played with a lot of heart and I am proud to be a captain of this team,” said senior Billy Nussdorfer. “At the start of the season I thought we could have made it well into the Districts, but winning a state championship, I wasn’t so sure.”
“I am surprised that we won a state championship this season,” said senior captain Jesse Morgan. “Last year we made it to the state finals but we lost a lot of quality players. But this year everyone bonded and stepped up, and we should be really proud of what we have done.”
“I wasn’t sure that this would happen because we lost some games in the middle of the year that we shouldn’t have,” added Hill. “This is not the most talented team we have had, but the kids worked their butts off and showed a lot of heart and we peaked at the right time.”
The game was a curious affair, resembling two heavyweight fighters feeling each other out as scoring chances were few-and-far-between. Neither team had a shot on goal over the first 20 minutes as both struggled to establish an edge at midfield.
Ipswich then grabbed the lead when Brendan Laubner chased down a chip behind the Bromfield defense and lifted a shot over onrushing Bromfield goaltender Toby Frost to make it 1-0, 21 minutes in.
That put Bromfield behind for the first time this post-season, but the Trojans responded less than four minutes later to tie it up when Nussdorfer sent a gorgeous pass up left wing that Lyvers picked up in full stride and fired a bullet under the cross bar to make it 1-1.
The Tigers bounced back to regain the lead at 33:04 when Laubner scored again, with a short shot from outside the left post to make it 2-1.
Ipswich took their 2-1 lead to intermission with Bromfield holding a 3-2 edge in shots on goal in a very close-to-the-vest half of soccer.
The Tigers looked very content with their one goal lead to play defense and try to take advantage of any offensive chances that showed, but they would get only one shot on goal the rest of the way. But their plan nearly worked as that lead remained intact for most of the second half.
Bromfield nearly tied it up a minute into the second half whe Keeon Tabrizi headed Lyvers’ long throw-in just wide of the left post, but Ipswich got strong defensive play from sweeper Andrew Roberts to keep their lead intact.
At the midway point of the half, Bromfield upped their level of offensive pressure and picked up three corner kicks in less than two minutes. Their best scoring chances were a Nussdorfer 15-yard shot that was saved by Fitzgerald after a Rob Southworth pass set the play up, and an Ian Rothkopf header after a corner kick by Tabrizi, that was also stopped by Fitzgerald, who made eight saves in the game.
After that flurry by Bromfield, Ipswich called a timeout with just over 15 minutes to play. It seemed to work and the Tigers settled down, until the biggest play of the game occured with six minutes left.
Lyvers was going after a loose ball in front of the net and was knocked down by Fitzgerald, and a penalty kick was called. Adding to the damage for the Tigers was that Fitzgerald received a yellow card on the play and was forced to the sidelines for the penalty kick.
With their season on the line, Nussdorfer calmly stepped up and drilled a shot high into the net to tie the game at 2-2.
The first overtime resembled much of the game with both teams playing cautiously and the game remaining in the middle of the field, but all that changed in the second overtime.
Laubner made a strong run up the right wing just 30 seconds in, but was broken up by the Bromfield defense. The Trojans transitioned the ball down the field and Rothkopf sifted a pass to Lyvers who ripped a shot past Fitzgerald to end it.
“I got a great pass that went over the head of their defender,” said Lyvers. “I put it on the far post and it went in. This is just an incredible feeling.”
“We had kids who were playing at less than 100 percent, but they gave it everything they had,” said Hill. “I am very proud of this team and this championship means a lot to me.”