GROTON — Around the midway point of the season, the Groton-Dunstable boys soccer team was a question mark concerning making the Districts. After a dominant 4-0 victory over North Middlesex on Tuesday night, the Crusaders have the look of a District contender.
Groton-Dunstable thoroughly outplayed the Patriots on a cold fall night, heating up the proceedings with strong play in all facets of the game. The Crusaders owned a 16-2 edge in shots on goal in the game and were solid all over the field. Groton-Dunstable midfielders controlled the flow of play, the defense played with confidence, and the forwards did a great job of finishing.
“We have now gone seven games without a loss,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Sean Wisbey. “Tonight we did a lot of things right and we did a great job of moving the ball. We are playing well and I think we are peaking at the right time.”
The Crusaders held a big advantage in time of possession from the opening whistle and picked up its first quality scoring chance six minutes in when Nate Pomeroy had a point-blank shot stuffed by North Middlesex goaltender Scott Cavanaugh.
Groton-Dunstable moved on top at the 13 minute mark. Doug Rosa sent a chip in front of the net and Kyle Romich headed it past an onrushing Cavanaugh. Romich chased down the ball and rolled a shot into the open net to make it 1-0.
Less than a minute later, the Crusaders just missed tacking on to the lead. Cavanaugh made the save on an initial shot, but the rebound bounced loose in front of the net. Another shot was fired toward the net, but North Middlesex sweeper Justin Dellacanonica kicked the ball out of danger.
The Crusaders did an outstanding job of flicking the ball with their heads to teammates to set up scoring chances, and Groton-Dunstable had three big opportunities to add to the lead over the remainder of the first half.
At 23:30, Romich took a lead pass and slipped past a defender before rolling a hard 18-yard shot that was stopped by a diving Cavanaugh.
Just 30 seconds later, a throw-in was flicked by Romich to Rosa, whose shot from point-blank range was just wide of the left post.
With 6:30 left in the half, Doug Beyh took a pass outside the right post and fired a shot wide of the left post.
With its offense unable to mount a counterattack, the North Middlesex defense kept the Patriots in the game, keyed by the play of Justin Dellacanonica, Brian Bourgeois and Alex Dellacanonica.
Groton-Dunstable held a 1-0 lead at halftime, holding an 8-0 edge in shots on goal.
The Crusaders retained the momentum as the second half started and quickly added to the lead. At 2:10, Romich sent a pass to Tynan MacLeod outside the right post and he netted a shot to make it 2-0.
The Patriots’ task became tougher when a red card 15 minutes into the second half forced them to play shorthanded.
Cavanaugh played well in net (12 saves) and kept his team within 2 when he stopped a testing shot by Pomeroy from close range, but the Crusaders put the game on ice with a pair of goals in less than two minutes.
At 25:41, Pomeroy finished off a brilliant individual effort, tipping the ball past the last North Middlesex defender, breaking in one-on-one against Cavanaugh and rolling a shot inside the right post to make it 3-0. Peter Georges assisted on the tally.
At 27:11, the Crusaders advanced up the field with precise passing. Chris McKinney took a pass on left wing and he sent a pass in front to a cutting Beyh, who slipped a one-timer past Cavanaugh to make it 4-0.
“Groton-Dunstable is a good team and played well tonight,” said North Middlesex coach Pen Burnham. “We weren’t able to get anything going offensively and we never tested their goaltender.”
“We received great play from Mike Hilbrunner, Peter Ellerkamp, Paolo Filho, Devin Goudy and Alex Merlino tonight,” said Wisbey. ‘This was a very complete effort.”
The Crusaders finished the regular season at 9-4-5.