WORCESTER — As the State Division 3 semi-final boys soccer game got underway between Easthampton and Bromfield, Easthampton’s strategy became obvious. The Eagles clogged the defensive end and relied on talented goaltender Cory Domina to stem the tide. Easthampton looked for their offense only when a significant opportunity presented itself.
Domina and his teammates made that ploy work for 30 minutes, keeping the game scoreless against the more talented Trojans despite being on the short end of a 10-2 shots on goal count, but Bromfield simply wore them down. Josh Lyvers broke the ice with a goal with 8:46 remaining in the first half, before second half tallies by Greg Wenger and Scott Nussdorfer wrapped up a convincing 3-0 win and cemented a berth in the State finals against Lynnfield.
“I think we were nervous for the first 15 minutes,” said Bromfield coach Tom Hill. “We started to get it together with our passing game and applied a lot of pressure, but Easthampton’s goaltender was very good. They put a lot of players back defensively but we stayed patient and continued to work the ball.”
Bromfield totally controlled the flow of play in the early going, but Domina came up big stopping a hard shot from outside the right post and a breakaway by Cody Osgood, and a header from close range by Lyvers, after a well-placed cross by Nussdorfer.
Easthampton made a couple of runs, but the Trojans played solid defense, led by fullback Salim Al-Homsi. Bromfield goaltender Caleb Frost came up with a sure-handed save midway through the half, snagging Justin Laliberte’s hard, skimming shot.
Bromfield intensified their offensive attack, but Domina came up with his two best saves of the half against testing shots from Sam Peisch.
At 19 minutes, Brian Morgan sent a pretty pass to Peisch, who ripped a shot toward the top part of the net. But Domina leaped and tipped the ball over the cross bar.
Five minutes later, a hard 20 yard shot by Peisch was stopped by a diving Domina.
At 31:14, the Trojans finally broke through on their 11th shot of the half. Peisch threaded a pin-point lead pass through the Easthampton defense to Lyvers, who slipped a shot into the net past an onrushing Domina to make it 1-0.
Bromfield maintained the pressure over the remainder of the half with the only two shots on goal. Their best opportunity to pad the lead came with four minutes left when Morgan sent a diagonal cross to Osgood, who headed a shot ove the cross bar.
The Trojans continued to press for an insurance goal early in the second period as they picked up three corner kicks in the first four minutes. Osgood, who was active both offensively and defensively throughout the game, ripped a hard shot two minutes in that was tipped over the cross bar by Domina.
Greg Wenger, who has been outstanding in post-season, came through the insurance goal at 13:25, picking up a deflection after a corner kick was blocked in front, and burying a rocket under the cross bar. Osgood earned an assist on the goal.
Three minutes later, Easthampton had their best chance of the second half. Ben Brown cleared away a long throw-in in front of the goal. After a mad scramble in front, a shot was sent just wide of the left post.
The Trojans iced the game at 21:26 with another pretty goal when Nussdorfer fired a 25-yard bullet into the upper right corner after taking a pass from Mike Girard.
Coach Hill was able to clear the bench and all hands protected the lead with aplomb. Easthampton failed to get a shot on goal in the second half and was on the short end of a 19-3 count in the game.
“We have scored quality goals all season long and that happened again today,” said Hill. “Sam Peisch made a great pass on the first goal and Josh finished it off. In the second half, both Greg and Scott’s goals were great shots. Sam played well at midfield while Connor Mackenzie played a strong defensive game.”
When asked if going to the State finals again was old hat, Hill had a quick reply.
“It’s old hat,” he said. “But it’s one I like to wear.”