HOLDEN — The Groton-Dunstable boys soccer team entered Saturday’s Central Mass. Division 2 finals looking to avenge a loss to Nipmuc in last year’s semi-finals.
The 2010 version proved to be deja vu as the Crusaders controlled the flow of play for most of the contest, only to see the Warriors come up with the only shot that counted, Tim Peterman’s decisive goal with 18 minutes left in the game. That tally held up as Nipmuc posted a 1-0 victory.
The Crusaders put the ball into the net twice in the contest, but neither counted. The first was called back when the linesman called the play offside and the second was denied by the center official, who whistled a foul against Nipmuc goaltender Andrew Morin.
“We had several good chances in the first half, but we couldn’t convert,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Sean Wisbey. “We also had some great late chances that were turned away by Nipmuc’s goaltender. Seniors Mike Hilbrunner, Tynan MacLeod, Pete Georges and Devin Goudey all played great and were instrumental in our great playoff run.”
The Crusaders came out and controlled the ball, spending a lot of time in the offensive end.
Just 5:30 into the game, Nate Pomeroy and MacLeod executed a pretty give-and-go play, which result in a shot by Pomeroy that was stopped by Morin at the post.
Groton-Dunstable continued to press and a minute later Chris McKinney’s point-blank shot sailed over the cross bar.
At 14:30, the Crusaders appeared to have scored, but it was waved off. Pomeroy ripped a shot off the right post and the rebound shot went into the net, but an offside call kept the game scoreless.
Groton-Dunstable, which owned a 6-1 edge in shots on goal over the first 40 minutes had two more outstanding chances to break the ice in the first half.
At 20:30, McKinney sent a long throw-in to Pomeroy, whose header from close range was stopped by Morin.
At 23 minutes, Doug Rosa slipped past a Nipmuc defender in the right corner and crossed the ball to Pomeroy, whose one-timer was stopped by Morin.
The second half featured more of the same for the first 20 minutes.
Morin continued to come up big for Nipmuc, stopping Pomeroy’s hard right wing shot four minutes into the second half, and Alex Merloni’s left wing shot 12 minutes later.
The Warriors scored against the flow of play at 22 minutes when forward Tim Peterman outraced Groton-Dunstable goaltender Ben Chilcoat to the ball and slipped a short shot into the net.
The goal energized the Warriors, who mounted significant offensive pressure trying to gain an insurance tally. Chilcoat stopped a hard shot by Tanor Jobe less than two minutes after the goal, and made a solid stop of Peterman’s hard left-footed shot at 27 minutes.
The Crusaders had one last chance in the final seconds, picking up a corner kick, but couldn’t net the equalizer.
Morin earned the shutout with 11 saves while Chilcoat made five saves for Groton-Dunstable.