NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Midway through the second half on Wednesday afternoon, the Drury High School boys soccer team let in a third goal to visiting Wahconah.
Before the dust had settled on that one, Wahconah's Kevin Boino broke through the middle of the Blue Devils' defense unmarked to score his third goal of the game in what turned out to be a 4-0 Wahconah win.
The defensive breakdown was an understandable mental lapse at a moment where much was going wrong for the home team.
It was a remarkably rare lapse considering how much has gone wrong for the Blue Devils this fall.
"Absolutely," said Drury coach Greg Caproni, who immediately called timeout to get his team refocused after Boino completed his hat trick. "I ask the world of my kids all the time. They work so hard. This team, especially, this year has listened and reproduced everything I've trained them to do.
"It's amazing. We've come a long way this year, and it's tough because you're still playing these tougher Northern Division teams who are just phenomenal."
Despite all its hard work this fall, the Blue Devils are 3-8 with nine games left. Wednesday's loss was Drury's fifth straight -- all by shutouts.
Caproni said that except for moments like allowing the easy fourth goal against Wahconah, the young Drury team understands that the season is more about how they play than what shows up on the scoreboard.
"They've got to be able to see the good through the bad," he said. "We've gone 400-plus minutes without scoring a goal. This isn't the first time in Drury soccer that's happened. We go through stretches of not scoring goals.
"They've got to realize they're doing the right things and it's going to happen when they play the right teams. We had some mental lapses. What I'm trying to tell my kids is I care about how we play the game."
Things do not get any easier on Thursday for Drury when it travels to face Tacnoic. But next week features some games where the Blue Devils figure to be competitive: Tuesday against Mount Everett, a team that beat Drury 2-1 early in the season, and Wednesday at Lee, who Drury beat, 4-2, on Sept. 14.
On Wednesday, the visitors broke through midway through the first half when Boino converted an assist from Pat Jamross and beat Joe Liporace (11 saves) to make it 1-0.
It stayed there for 26 minutes before Wahconah cashed in on a direct free kick awarded just outside the 18-yard box early in the second half. The initial signal was for an indirect free kick, and there was some confusion on the Drury defense when Boino deftly touched the ball around the four-man wall and into the corner of the goal with the first touch.
Wahconah kept the pressure on with three corner kicks in the next four minutes, but Drury's defense was able to hold the score to 2-0 for another nine minutes before Boino set up Lampross with a crossing pass from the right wing on a counter attack to make it 3-0.
Then came the big breakdown that put the game completely out of reach.
Drury's current offensive drought was extended at a time when its leading scorer, junior Michael Boland (three goals, two assists) spent the entire game in the back, where he made several standout plays -- especially in the first half to keep it 1-0.
Caproni said Boland certainly has the potential to find the net again on offense, but his talents are needed elsewhere.
"This summer, we were talking about backs and going forward and one of the best quotes I've heard was: Your back three or four are rocks, not rockets," Caproni said. "One of the questions I asked over the summer was, 'Are you a rock or a rocket?'
"And of course, the answer is 'Rocket,' becuause [Boland] wants to put the ball in the back of the net. But that kid is a rock. You put him back there and his output is through the roof. he's the quintessential rock.
"I understand he wants to be a rocket, and he does some wonderful things up front. But he's just so solid back there."