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GROTON — On Saturday afternoon, the Groton-Dunstable boys’ soccer team dominated in every facet of the game, yet Coach Jason Gutzler wasn’t completely comfortable until the final whistle. The Crusaders held a 32-2 advantage in shots on goal, held at least an 85-15 advantage in time of possession and made a first half goal by Nick Hirchstein hold up in a 1-0 victory over Hudson.

“We didn’t finish well again today and that has been a problem all season long,” said Gutzler, whose team improved to 12-4-1. “When you have as many shots on goal as we did today, you would expect to score more than one goal. Beyond the lack of scoring, I was pleased with how we controlled the flow of play and I thought our passing was solid.”

Just over 10 minutes into the game, Groton-Dunstable had their first scoring threat of the day. Mike Hilbrunner sent a long throw-in towards the middle of the box to Brian McCarron. He lined a shot that was punched into the air by Hawks goalkeeper Ryan Howard who eventually gained control and cleared the ball away.

Midway through the opening half, Hirchstein just missed getting the Crusaders on the board. Off a deflection, Hirchstein took the ball, got by a defender and fired a shot that was tipped away at the last second by Howard to keep things scoreless.

At the 35:33 mark, Groton-Dunstable got what proved to be the game-winning tally. Pat McKinney made a run down the right side and had his shot blocked. The deflection came out to Derek McCaffrey whose shot was saved. Hirchstein got control of the ball and sent a shot into an open net to make it a 1-0 heading into the intermission.

The Crusaders continued to control the game, using solid passing, especially on the perimeter to get quality shots. However, Groton-Dunstable was unable to break through in large part due to the solid play of Howard between the posts. The Hudson goalkeeper came up with 14 saves on the day and kept his team in the contest.

With just under 10 minutes to go, the Hawks came up with their first shot of the day. Off a free kick, Jessy Luz lined a shot from 30 yards out that was saved off a hop by T.J. VanRiper who cleared the ball away. It was the only quality chance Hudson would come up with as the Crusaders held on for the non-league win.

“Our defense did a nice job of not allowing many opportunities today,” said Gutzler. “McCaffrey did a nice job in midfield and I thought Alex Merlino did a nice job stepping in and playing center mid. This was a nice win, but we have some things to work on heading into Districts.”