KIERAN GORGENYI punches away a Newburyport cross. The junior keeper played well in a great battle between two of the league’s best teams. (Nancy Carpenter Photo)

NORTH READING The NRHS boys’ soccer team continued their strong season over the last two weeks.

After a close 1-0 loss to Newburyport on Sept. 27, the Hornets beat Hamilton-Wenham 4-2 on Sept. 30 and Austin Prep 2-1 on Oct. 2.

North Reading pushed their league winning streak to four games with victories over Triton (6-0) on Oct. 4, Manchester-Essex (3-2) on Oct. 8 and Georgetown (2-1) on Oct. 12. Recaps from those three games will appear in next week’s issue. North Reading will get a week to prepare for a huge matchup on the road against Lynnfield on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 4:15 p.m.

Edged by Clippers

Newburyport came into the game undefeated for the season and the Hornets came in with a three-game winning streak. The Hornets had some great early chances in this game pitting the two pre-season favorites in the CAL. The best chance came less than 10 minutes into the game when senior forward Alex Carpenter was fouled in the penalty area. Unfortunately, the Hornets were unable to convert on the penalty kick and the game remained scoreless.

The whole game was a hard fought contest that featured physical play from both teams. The physical play led to a Newburyport player receiving two yellow cards in the first half forcing Newburyport to play a man down for the rest of the game.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Clippers came out firing in the second half, taking advantage of the numerous offensive opportunities afforded them through their “throw-in specialist” who was able to turn every throw-in into a scoring chance. Just two minutes into the second half, one of those long throws earned the Clippers a corner kick that wasn’t cleared cleanly and the loose ball went to an open Newburyport player who put the ball in the back of the net.

The Hornets regained their balance and controlled the rest of the game and were able to create some strong scoring chances including a partial breakaway for junior forward Josh Stanieich that was foiled by the Newburyport goalkeeper who made a tremendous save. The final chance came from junior Liam Rodger who rifled a left footed shot from 25 yards out that beat the goalkeeper but hit the crossbar and was cleared away.

Conquer Generals

The Hornets wanted to get back to their winning ways against Hamilton-Wenham on Sept. 30 and they started the game quickly. In the 6th minute, Stanieich crossed the ball from the left wing to the far post where freshman Max Gulino controlled the cross and placed a left footed shot inside the right post for his first varsity goal.

Seventeen minutes later, the green and gold struck again. This time it was junior forward Rob Corvino who beat the keeper to a Jason Emerson pass and calmly circled both the H-W goalkeeper and a defender to cooly pass the ball into a wide open net.

Five minutes after that, Stanieich scored his first goal since coming back from injury when he slotted a shot inside the left post off a pass from Carpenter. The Hornets took the 3-0 lead into halftime.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Hamilton-Wenham committed a handling offense in their own penalty area giving NR its second penalty kick attempt in two games. This time junior defender Nathan Miller stepped up to take the kick and he made no mistake drilling his kick into the top right corner of the goal.

The Generals scored two goals in the last eight minutes of the game to cut the lead to two, but they would get no closer.

Beat Austin Prep

The Hornets went to Austin Prep in Reading on Saturday for a non-league night game.

The Hornets scored first off of a corner kick. Josh Stanieich took the corner from the left side and senior midfielder Kiernan Schulz headed it home from eight yards out. The Hornets played a solid rest of the half defensively led by goalkeeper Kieran Gorgenyi and defender Cody Cannalonga and took the 1-0 lead into the half.

The second half started out with a bang and a goal for Austin Prep against the run of play when a clearance attempt came to a Cougar midfielder 30 yards from goal. The Austin Prep attacker made no mistake as he rifled a one-timed half volley into the top right corner of the goal.

The game stayed tied until the 68th minute when Stanieich hit a cross from the right wing to the far post where Liam Rodger arrived just in time and rocketed a left footed bomb of the inside of the right post and into the goal for the game winner.

That moved the North Reading record to 5-2-1 on the season.

“Two good wins to close out the week and get things back on track after the loss to Newburyport,” said head coach Mark Bisognano.”The team is playing well and I think we are improving as the season goes along, which is a great sign. Hopefully, we will be playing our best soccer as we get closer to the playoffs.”