Non-league rivals to square off in Div. 3 North final on Sunday
Published in the November 13, 2015 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
LYNN — Even though Swampscott plays outside the Middlesex League, the Wakefield Memorial High boys’ soccer team knows the Big Blue just about as well any league opponent having faced them for the past several years in non-league play.
In fact the two teams faced each twice this season and split the non-league series with each squad winning on its home turf.
So Sunday’s Div. 3 North sectional final will be the rubber match between the non-league rivals. Game time is at 11 a.m. at Manning Field in Lynn.
The Warriors (9-8-4) are seeded 11th and have defeated Cape Ann League foes Triton and Pentucket and Merrimack Valley Conference opponent Tewksbury in the semifinals.
Swampscott (14-3-3) was ranked fourth in Div. 3 North and drew a first round bye. The Big Blue won a 4-3 overtime over fifth ranked Burke before upsetting top-seeded Wayland (13-3-4) in the semifinals on Wednesday to gain a berth in the sectional final.
Wakefield and Swampscott are no strangers to each other having played each other twice during the regular season. The Big Blue won the first meeting by a 5-3 score on Sept. 12 at Swampscott High School. The Warriors prevailed in the rematch at Walton Field by a 4-2 score on Oct. 24.
After the Tewksbury win, Coach Matt Angelo offered his thoughts on playing a very familiar foe.
“The Swampscott game is going to be very physical game. It should be a lot of fun,” said Angelo. “We played them twice in non-league games and their coach (Eric Robinson) is an old friend. This will be for bragging rights.”
In the first meeting against Swampscott, Wakefield broke out offensively with three goals although it didn’t earn a win.
Wakefield played the Big Blue in a very physical and tough back and forth shootout type game on Sept. 12.
Swampscott scored very early on a Wakefield miscue right from the kickoff. Used as motivation, Swampscott put the pressure on Wakefield and made the Warriors defend early. The pressure was too much for Wakefield as its let up another goal about 15 minutes later.
Wakefield regained its composure and began implementing its game plan.
Wakefield responded when junior Juan Maysonet beat multiple defenders and crossed a ball into the box. After a scrum, senior captain Mark Melanson made a long run into the box and put the ball into the back of the net. Wakefield cut the lead to 2-1.
However another miscue led to a third Swampscott goal. Wakefield went into halftime down 3-1.
The second half was much better for Wakefield. Although Swampscott scored two more goals, Wakefield’s young players stepped up and produced two of their own.
Freshman Carter Margolis got big minutes at center midfield. He controlled the game and focused on possession soccer. His vision set up Anthony Spagnuolo for his first varsity goal.
Freshman Aidan Cusack also showed his worth. Coming off the bench to play center back, Cusack was influential in stopping Swampscott’s counter attack. He even helped the offense when he played a through ball to Maysonet which led to Wakefield’s third goal.
Sophomores Cole Krauss and Dan Kerrigan played well in that game as well as senior Andrew DeCecca.
The 4-2 win over Swampscott came on Senior Day at Walton Field in Wakefield’s final home game. It has been on the road since.
The teams battled fairly evenly matched throughout much of the first half. Midway through the half Mo Janga knocked in a loose ball that was a rebound of a Braeden Langlois shot for a goal to give Wakefield a 1-0 lead.
In the last minute of the half Maysonet fed a nice cross to Melanson, who was able to bury the goal to send Wakefield into the intermission with a 2-0 lead.
The second goal came against Max Bazarov in net, who had replaced starter Will Green after Green left the game with an injury that was one of many in the game.
Swampscott started the second half with some shots on Wakefield keeper Zack Dascoli, who was able to deflect a number of shots over the net.
The pressure eventually paid off when Danny Hingston scored for Swampscott to cut the Wakefield lead to 2-1.
Maysonet then scored to give Wakefield some breathing room with a 3-1 lead, which the Warriors needed when Swampscott scored with 29 seconds left to make it 3-2.
With Swampscott keeper Bazarov out of the net as a sort of extra man on offense, Maysonet was able to get by him and score to make it 4-2 and secure the Wakefield victory.
So Sunday’s matchup is the rubber one and the winner will advance to the Div. 3 state semifinals which are scheduled for next week on a day, time and venue to be announced. The winner will play the winner of the Div. 3 South sectional final between Norton and Norwell which is slated to be played tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Brockton High School.