HARVARD — A few weeks back, the Bromfield boys soccer team rolled to a 3-0 win over Groton-Dunstable. But on Saturday morning, the Crusaders gained a measure of revenge by presenting coach Jason Gutzler with a homecoming present when they turned the tables with a well-earned 2-1 win over the Trojans.
Groton-Dunstable improved to 6-4-2 with the win, while Bromfield is now 10-2-2.
“We played with a lot of intensity,” said Gutzler, who played his high school soccer at Bromfield. “The kids came ready to play and showed a lot of desire to win. I think that was the difference.”
“Groton-Dunstable came to play and I think they won the game more than we lost it,” said Bromfield coach Tom Hill. “They used their speed and quickness to advantage and they took advantage of our mistakes. They deserved to win.”
Before the echo from the opening whistle had stopped reverberating, the Crusaders got on the board. At 1:06, a well-placed corner kick created confusion in the Bromfield defense, allowing Mike Hutton to net a shot from close range. Derek McCaffrey assisted on the goal.
The Crusaders combined their quickness with physical play to not allow Bromfield to get their short passing attack into gear. Groton-Dunstable maintained their 1-0 lead over the remainder of the first half, owning a 9-3 edge in shots on goal.
The Crusaders gained four corner kicks over the first 40 minutes and all of them proved dangerous. Bromfield goaltender Caleb Frost did a good job of punching the ball out of danger from the middle of a crowd on numerous occasions.
Bromfield came on near the midway point of the half and had a couple of quality scoring opportunities.
At 15 minutes, Brian Morgan stole the ball and slipped past a couple of Groton-Dunstable defenders before rolling a shot that was just wide of the left post.
At 23 minutes, Cody Osgood sent a pass to Josh Lyvers, who made a long left wing run, sliced in and ripped a shot into the side of the net.
Groton-Dunstable received solid defensive play from Brian McCarron, Richard Pomeroy, Duncan Lapres and Ricky Akins. Goaltender Joakim Monk, who played the first half, stopped all three shots he faced. The Crusaders regained the momentum over the final ten minutes of the half, getting the last four shots on goal and taking their 1-0 lead to intermission.
The Trojans tied things up three minutes into the second half when Morgan converted a penalty kick.
The Crusaders answered right back, regaining the lead at 7:15 when Tommy Callahan stole the ball in the offensive end, moved in alone and rolled a shot inside the right post. Ben Houston assisted on the goal.
T.J. Van Riper came on to play goal for the Crusaders in the second half and finished with five saves, none bigger than at 15:30 when Sam Peisch sent a perfect diagonal pass to Lyvers, who sliced in, only to see Van Riper charge out of the net to stuff the shot.
The Trojans were presented with a golden opportunity to tie the game at 17:20 when they were awarded another penalty kick, but this one sailed high and the one-goal lead remained intact.
Frost (10 saves) came up big for the Trojans at 29:30 to keep his team within striking distance. Callahan broke in alone and fired a shot that was stopped by a diving Frost. McCaffrey scooped up the rebound and fired a testing shot that was denied by Frost.
Bromfield’s final chance for the equalizer came with four minutes left. Ben Brown sent an arching ball down the field that Lyvers flicked ahead and chased down, but Van Riper charged out of his net to pounce on it.”
“We talked about keeping constant pressure against their forwards and midfielders,” said Gutzler. “We did that with a zone defense. The kids were excited about this game and the seniors wanted one last shot at beating Bromfield. We have taken a turn for the better and the kids have really started to step up.”
“We had too many fouls in the first half, but we played better in the second half,” said Hill. “We are in the middle of the toughest part of our schedule right now, and it doesn’t get any easier with Leominster on Monday. We had our chances but we didn’t take advantage of them. I’m happy for Jason, his team played well.”