LEOMINSTER — Anyone who follows high school sports understands that you don’t take tournament seedings with a grain of salt, you take them with a truck load of salt.
In theory, the Groton-Dunstable boys soccer team (eighth seed) was an underdog against top-seeded Monty Tech when the teams met at Doyle Field.
The Crusaders used its advantages in size, speed and cohesiveness to roll to an easy 5-1 win over the Bulldogs, and punch a ticket into the Central Mass. Division 2 semifinals against Millbury.
Five different players scored goals for the Crusaders, who continued to play its best soccer of the season as one of the hottest teams in all divisions of the Central Mass. Tournaments.
“We have a lot of depth in the program and played a lot of guys,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Sean Wisbey. “We weathered the storm early by putting a lot of pressure on them. We are battle-tested from playing in a league of Division 1 schools, and I thought we could do some damage in this tournament.”
The Crusaders came out and totally controlled the flow of play in the first half, outshooting Monty Tech 10-2 and taking a 2-0 lead.
Monty Tech goaltender Guido Damien Porteiro kept the game on scoreless terms with a pair of early diving saves. At 12:30, he stopped Tynan MacLeod’s 25-yard bullet at the left post. Off the ensuing corner kick, a chip in front of the net came to Kyle Romich, who headed the ball over the cross bar.
At 16:30, Groton-Dunstable’s Alex Merlino rolled a hard shot that was stopped at the left post by a diving Porteiro.
The Crusaders maintained the offensive momentum and broke through at 18:35. Nate Pomeroy sent a perfect diagonal pass to MacLeod, who was in full flight, and the senior sent a perfect chip into the net over an onrushing Porteiro to make it 1-0.
Groton-Dunstable wasted little time in adding to the lead. At 22:02, Pomeroy did a great job of gaining possession on the right sideline from Monty Tech defenders and sent a well-placed cross in front that Ryan Romich headed past Porteiro from close range to make it 2-0.
Crusaders’ netminder Ben Chilcoat wasn’t tested often, but with 11 minutes remaining in the first half, he stopped a header from point-blank range, and the two-goal lead was intact heading to intermission.
“The Most Valuable Player Award for the game goes to Mike Keating,” said Wisbey. “He changed the pace of the game in the first half when he subbed off the bench. He won the ball in midfield and allowed us to settle down and create better scoring chances, which led to two first-half goals.”
There was no letdown on the part of the Crusaders, and two early second-half goals put the game out of reach.
At 1:32, Devin Goudey fielded a pass from Romich and sent a short shot into the net to make it 4-0.
At 5:12, MacLeod fired a shot toward the net that Chris McKinney perfectly deflected past Porteiro to extend the advantage to 4-0.
Kerwin made it 5-0 at 29:21 when he ripped a 25-yard shot into the upper right corner of the net.
Monty Tech was able to avert the shutout with less than two minutes remaining when Branden Alicea followed up after his initial shot had been stopped and netted the rebound shot.
“I thought that Peter Ellerkamp, Keating and Doug Rosa all played great in the game,” said Wisbey.
Groton-Dunstable improved to 11-4-5 with the victory while Monty Tech finishes at 13-4-2.