GROTON — After suffering through a scoring drought, it appears that the Groton-Dunstable boys soccer team’s offense is back on track. Although they defeated Nashoba just 2-0 on Wednesday night, only superior work by Nashoba netminder D.J. Siewierski and some flukey bounces around the net, cross bars and goal posts kept the Crusaders from posting a prodigious number.
“The last three game our offense has turned it around,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Jason Gutzler. “Chris Chenelle and Mike Hutton are working well together and Derek McCaffrey is controlling the middle up front better. Those things have made a big difference and we are getting far more good scoring opportunities.”
The Crusaders owned the edge in play throughout, outshooting the Chieftains 17-5. Every Groton-Dunstable player on the field was active and they continually moved the ball forward, getting seven corner kicks in the second half alone.
“We played very well in the first half when we scored our two goals,” said Gutzler. “But we played even better in the second half when we didn’t score.”
The tone was set just 30 seconds into the game when Groton-Dunstable’s Tommy Callahan fired a testing shot from right wing that was stopped by Siewierski.
The Chenelle-Hutton connection got moving at the 8 minute mark when Chenelle sent a long lead pass to Hutton, whose shot was just wide of the right post.
Nashoba defender Jesse Way came up big to keep the game on scoreless terms at 16:30. A defensive misplay by the Chieftains allowed Chenelle to break in from right wing. He passed to Hutton at the left post, but his shot toward an open net was knocked away by Way.
The pressure finally paid off with a goal at 19:31. Hutton sifted a perfect lead pass to Chenelle behind the Nashoba defense and he broke in alone. Siewierski got a piece of his first shot, but Chenelle stayed with it and rolled the rebound shot into the open net to make it 1-0.
The Crusaders dodged a bullet less than six minutes later when Nashoba’s Travis Johnson broke in alone, but fired a shot off the right post.
Groton-Dunstable controlled play, keyed by the efforts of midfielders McCaffrey, Chris Alcocer, Callahan and C.J. Rourke and doubled the lead as the half was winding down. Hutton broke into the offensive zone and sent a pass to Chenelle, who blasted a low 12-yard shot past Siewierski.
The Crusaders didn’t score in the second half, but they still upped their level of play a notch, getting 11 of the 13 shots on goal. McCaffrey had a chip clang off the cross bar, and Brian McCarron was robbed of a goal when his well-placed header toward the lower left corner was stopped by a fully-extended Siewierski.
Groton-Dunstable exerted tremendous pressure off their corner kicks, which created a number of wild scrambles and a shot off the post.
“Our defense did a solid job tonight,” said Gutzler. “Tommy Callahan played a strong game at outside halfback and Derek McCaffrey did a great job of distributing the ball.”
The victory improved Groton-Dunstable to 5-4-2 for the season.