JOSH STANIEICH scored both of North Reading’s goals in a 2-1 victory over Georgetown on Oct. 12. The junior also scored two goals including the game-winner in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester-Essex on Oct. 8. (Nancy Carpenter Photo)

READING The NRHS boys’ soccer team rolled to wins over Triton, Manchester-Essex and Georgetown over the last two weeks while dropping one game to Wayland.

North Reading is now 8-3-1 and ranked 24th out of 62 teams in Division 3. The Hornets are guaranteed at least one game in the tournament as they have secured at least a .500 record. The new statewide tournament format takes the top 32 teams per division plus any teams outside the top 32 who have records over .500 or who have won their league. With CAL Kinney Division games against Lynnfield, Pentucket and Newburyport on the horizon the Hornets still have an outside shot at winning the Kinney Division.

Beat Triton 6-0

Brady Miller scored the first two goals of the game on assists from Jason Emerson and Josh Stanieich. Alex Carpenter scored the third goal just before halftime on an assist from Liam Rodger. Kiernan Schulz scored three minutes into the second half on another assist from Rodger.

Kieran Gorgenyi played the second half in the field and scored his first goal of the season in the 48th minute. The scoring was capped off by Cody Cannalonga in the 60th minute. The senior defender scored the first goal of his career on a pass from Stanieich.

Senior Sebastian Gonzales made the save on the only shot that Triton mustered to keep a clean sheet.

Top rival Hornets 3-2

The home Hornets beat visiting Manchester-Essex on Oct. 8.

Manchester-Essex came out flying and capitalized on some poor defensive organization that left a M-E attacker alone on the far post for the first goal of the game only 7 minutes in.

The Green and Gold settled down and found its footing closing down the spaces in the middle of the field that M-E exploited early in the game. Slowly the tide turned and the Hornets were controlling the game. Just a bit more than one minute before halftime, Carpenter found some space down the right wing and he slipped a pass to Stanieich who got behind the M-E defense on the right side and hammered a shot beating the keeper to the near post to tie up the score.

Despite some great chances for NR to take the lead in the second, the game remained tied until the 66th minute when junior midfielder slid a pass to Schulz at the top of the penalty area. Schulz made a nifty turn protecting the ball and setting up his favored left foot to drive a low shot into the bottom right side of the goal.

Only seven minutes later M-E capitalized on a free kick from 40 yards out.

The Hornets were not going to disappoint the large crowd at Arthur J. Kenney field that night and with under five minutes remaining in the game freshman midfielder Matt Fleury put Stanieich behind the M-E defense. The Hornets leading goal scorer in each of the last two seasons used his body to protect the ball from the last M-E defender and hammered a left footed shot into the bottom left corner of the goal to give the Hornets the deciding goal in a heart-stopping win.

Shut out by Wayland

The next afternoon Wayland came to town sporting a 3-1-4 record in the always tough Dual County League. The Hornets were fatigued from their tough game the night before, but the home team did more than just defend its home turf early in this one.

The Hornets and Warriors entertained a Saturday afternoon crowd with a back and forth game of hard-fought soccer. Both teams created scoring chances, but both keepers were up to the challenge. Gorgenyi made 5 saves on the afternoon and the Wayland goalkeeper was forced into 4 saves.

The scoreless tie was broken in the 57th minute when a turnover in the middle third of the field led to a transition opportunity for Wayland who found the open man at the far post who had no one but the goalkeeper, Gorgenyi in front of him. Gorgenyi didn’t have a chance as the Warrior player shot the ball high and hard into the left side of the goal.

Wayland was able to tack on one more goal off of a corner in the last minute of play for the 2-0 final.

“This was a great game of soccer,” said head coach Mark Bisognano. “Both teams put on a great display. We had some chances to get on the board first. Matt Fleury just missed the top corner in the first half and early in the second half Josh Stanieich had a chance that I think was labeled for the top corner, but the defender just got a piece of the shot.

“After that, I thought we ran out of gas. I don’t say that as a criticism, but just a reality. We played a tough game last night and we asked a lot, physically, from a bunch of guys and I think we just got to the point where we couldn’t sustain the high level of play needed to win this game. That said, this was a great experience against a very good team.”

Beat Georgetown 2-1

Fortunately the Hornets got on the board 17 minutes into a game against Georgetown when Liam Rodger hit a cross that Stanieich headed over the keeper to make it 1-0.

The half ended 1-0 despite a plethora of chances for the Hornets to extend the lead.

The second half started with Georgetown trying to use the long ball to find a way to solve the NR defense. This led to some deep throw-ins and corner kicks for the Royals against the run of play. One of those corners got knocked around in the penalty area and ended up deflecting into the NR goal off of a Hornet defender. This unfortunate turn of bad luck put the Hornets under pressure against a team they knew they should get a win against.

Fortunately, with 13 minutes remaining in the game, junior Brodie Mann found Stanieich on the half turn 20 yards from goal just outside of the right post. Stanieich took a touch and then fired a low, hard, right footed shot that hit the inside of the left post and settled in the back of the net for his second goal of the game.

The Hornet defense and Gorgenyi held down the fort the rest of the way despite being without right back Jason Emerson who left the game early with an injury.