By DAN NUNN
Open tournament play at home
NORTH READING — The Hornets boys’ soccer team (12-3-3) will take on the Watertown Raiders (8-5-5) in the quarterfinals of the Division 3 North Sectional Tournament on Thursday, November 6 at 5 p.m. Come down to Arthur J. Kenney Field to support the No. 1 seeded Hornets!
Squeak past Sachems 3-2
The Hornets scored two goals in the final six minutes to escape with a 3-2 road victory over the Pentucket Sachems last Thursday afternoon. Junior Killian Daly scored the game-winner in the 76th minute.
It was a defensive struggle in the first half. North Reading only generated a few chances and the game remained scoreless at the half. Both offenses erupted in the second half. Senior captain Adam Sapp opened the scoring in the 50th minute. Sapp took a long pass from senior Zach Herman at the top of the box, turned on his defender and finished under the crossbar from 15 yards away. Unfortunately the Sachems responded with two straight goals to go on top 2-1.
Those two goals seemed to refocus the Hornets who took control of the game in the final 15 minutes. In the 74th minute senior captain Dan Coveney tied it up. Coach Mark Bisognano said, “It was a typical Dan Coveney goal. To use a hockey term, Dan is good at getting in those dirty areas in front of the goal. He’s not the biggest player on the field, but he doesn’t lose too many one-on-one battles for the ball and he is a very good finisher.”
Two minutes later, Pentucket’s goalie coughed up a rebound and senior captain Alex Brown jumped on top of it. He knocked the ball free and Daly pounced on the ball in front of the goal and potted the game winner in the final regular season game, which also improved North Reading’s CAL record to 11-2-3 while the loss dropped Pentucket to 9-4-3 in the league standings and 9-5-4 overall for a No. 6 seed in the tournament bracket.
Bisognano was extremely happy with his team’s performance. “This was an incredibly hard contested second half. I think the team showed a tremendous amount of resiliency in coming back late from a one-goal deficit,” he said.
“The last 15 minutes of the game was played at the intensity level of a tournament game. Pentucket has a very good team and they played very hard, but we were able to match their work rate and get a great result heading into the tournament.”
North Reading’s No. 1 seeding in the 13-team bracket earned the Hornets a first round bye. No. 8 Watertown defeated No. 9 Wakefield 2-1 Monday night in the first round for the chance to face North Reading in the quarterfinals.
The result of first round games played Tuesday night between No. 4 Wilmington and No. 13 Bedford as well as No. 5 O’Bryant and No. 12 Weston (after press time) will determine which of those teams are paired up for the other quarterfinal game. One of these teams will ultimately face the winner of the North Reading vs. Watertown match-up in the Div. 3 North semifinals at Manning Field in Lynn next Wednesday, Nov. 12.
This neutral site will be used for both semifinal games in the bracket as well as the Div. 3 North championship game on Sunday, Nov. 16. Bracket updates and game times will be posted on www.miaa.net.