WESTFIELD — The Bromfield boys soccer team’s path to the State Division 3 semi-finals had been a stroll through the park with easy wins over Sutton, Douglas and Maynard, but the Trojans met a horse of a different color on Tuesday night at Westfield State College.
The Monson Mustangs proved to be a rugged opponent, complete with experience and skill. At times they appeared to be in control of the game, especially in the first half. But Bromfield added another chapter to their storied history by persevering to eke out a 2-1 victory that resulted from a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks after the two teams battled on even terms through regulation and two overtimes.
“Monson is a classy team and is the best team we played this season,” said Bromfield coach Tom Hill. “We were fortunate to win. I think the last time we won a game on penalty kicks was in 1989 in the District championship game. Our defense did an outstanding job against a lot of offensive pressure.”
Monson surprised Bromfield in the first 20+ minutes, owning a wide edge in play. Only two great defensive plays by the Trojans allowed the game to stay on scoreless terms.
At 14:30, Bromfield goaltender Caleb Frost roamed well out of the net to try to break a play up and Monson’s Tom Vear fired a shot toward the net that was confidently kicked out of danger by sweeper Kevin Molinaro.
Eight minutes later, Frankie Hull of the Mustangs slipped past a Bromfield defender and broke in alone on Frost. Hull blistered a shot from point blank ranged that was knocked away by the diving Trojans netminder.
Bromfield stunned the Mustangs by scoring against the flow of play at 23:21 when Scott Nussdorfer sifted a pass to Greg Wenger, who ripped a shot inside the right post to make it 1-0.
It appeared that goal might hold up at halftime until the Mustangs tied things up at 37:04 when Ben Murphy tucked a shot inside the left post after taking a pass from Nate Banas. The teams went to intermission tied at 1-1 with Monson owning a 5-2 edge in shots on goal and having all four corners over the opening 40 minutes.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Trojans enjoyed an edge in play, getting four of the six shots on goal and all four corner kicks. But a scoreless second half sent the game to the first overtime.
Bromfield cranked it up a notch over that ten-minute span. Forward Cody Osgood had a couple of opportunities that resulted in a shot wide of the goal and one over the cross bar, while John Alexander blocked a clearing pass and broke in from left wing, firing a shot into the side of the net.
Frost answered with a big save at the other end, snagging Ben Souza’s dipping shot at the post.
The second overtime period was uneventful, setting up the dreaded scenario of penalty kicks.
Bromfield took an early lead when Sam Peisch and Wenger scored, while the second Monson shooter clanged a shot off the goal post. Monson drew even on the third shooter as Mustangs’ goaltender Michael Ketterman made the save, but Frost turned things around with the biggest save of his career.
Monson, which shot first, had their fourth shooter denied by a diving Frost. Osgood and Lars Nordgreen then both hit the back of the net to send the Trojans into the final against Hamilton-Wenham, which defeated Carver 1-0 in the other State semi-final game.
“This was just an excellent soccer game that was played in the right way,” said Hill. “Caleb came up with some big saves in the game.”