Wahconah Boys Blank Drury
DALTON, Mass. -- For the Wahconah boys soccer team, the hard work of what has become a long season was rewarded on Wednesday afternoon.
For Drury, a lesson was learned that might help it extend its season down the road.
Chad Howes scored midway through the second half to give Wahconah a 1-0 win over the visiting Blue Devils.
Wahconah (4-9) avenged a 2-1 loss to Drury earlier this season and snapped a four game losing streak.
Coach John Kovacs said his team is committing to finishing strong no matter its win-loss record.
“We’re working the same and working hard,” Kovacs said. “The second half [of the season], we’ve gotten a little better, but it’s slow in coming.
“Our biggest thing compared to last year is we're not scoring. We're playing too much defense. I think the second half the scores have been better -- like against Monument, it was 2-0, and we were in the game.”
And Wahconah dominated most of Wednesday’s game, keeping Drury pinned in its defensive half most of the first half.
The Blue Devils (13-2-3) evened things out after the break, but neither side was able to gain the upper hand in a back-and-forth second half until Howes drilled a shot from the top of the 18 past Drury keeper Brian Christian (nine saves) in the 58th minute.
In the 71st minute, Drury coach John Jacobbe called timeout to regroup.
“I let my boys handle it for a while,” he said. “When it got under 10 [minutes], I told them, 'We're down a goal, and this is our tournament right now.' We've got to play like our lives are on the line because we get a free shot at it. Next week, it won't be free.
“We didn't cash in, but we did play some of our best soccer in the last couple of weeks in the last 9:38.”
The Blue Devils had three of their five shots on goal in the final 10 minutes, but Wahconah’s Anthony Dondiego was equal to the task each time.
Drury, playing its regular season finale, will try to build on the momentum of those final moments.
“We needed to finish strong in the second half. It would have been nice to get a tie or a win,” Jacobbe. “But we hit a couple of posts, and Reece [Racette] had a great chance, and they're goalie made a great save. You've got to give them credit.
“That's what the tournament is going to be like. It's going to be hard to find goals. It's good that we got that gut-check feeling and we're not happy coming off the field. That hopefully will make us hungry, and we'll work hard the next eight, nine days to get ready for the tournament.”
The Blue Devils earned their ticket to the post-season way back on Sept. 29, and it kept on winning, running its record to 13-0-2 after last week’s win over Hoosac Valley.
After his team suffered its second loss in three games on Wednesday, Jacobbe was not showing any signs of concern.
“It's a tough run, but we set it up that way,” he said. “We started our year off with some games that were non-conference where we thought we might have a chance. And we finished the year with non-conference where we knew we'd be tested. And guess what? Every game, even the Monson game, it was 2-0 at half-time, and we had some chances to score before they did. We've been in every game.
“Monson was a tough one after they got up 2-0. They put us away. But we've been battling in every game, and I feel good about it.”