Lee's Late Goal Drowns Drury's Chances

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LEE, Mass. -- A once promising season ended on a definite down note on Wednesday for the Drury boys' soccer team, which fell 2-1 to Lee to miss out on a chance to qualify for the Western Mass. tournament. 

Will Carroll's goal in the 72nd minute broke a 1-1 tie, lifted the Wildcats (6-8-2) to a second-place finish in the South Division and gave them the opportunity to compete in the postseason. The Blue Devils, who came into the game needing either a tie or a win to qualify for the playoffs, lost their third straight division game to close out the season with an overall record of 4-9-2. 

Less than two weeks ago, Greg Caproni's club was tied for first place with Taconic in the South with a record of 4-1. A key injury to senior captain Nolan Woods crippled Drury, however, and it showed in the Devils' final two games of the season. After beating Mount Everett and Lee by a combined score of 8-2 in the first two meetings of the season, Drury was outscored 7-3 in rematches with the two squads last week. 

"Well, it was a fitting end to the ultimate collapse of an upbeat season," Caproni said about Wednesday's game. "Tonight we find ourselves heading home wondering what went wrong. Losing our last three division games to knock us out of Western Mass. has us asking, 'how?'"

Lee took the game's first lead in the 27th minute when Jack Harding took a pass over the top from John Graziano and blasted a shot into the corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at halftime. Senior Jake Tietgens continued his stellar year for the Blue Devils, however, netting his team-leading 19th goal of the season 13 and half minutes into the second half off an assist from junior Jacob Groves. Tietgens took a pass from the corner and drilled a shot that bounced off the crossbar and in to to even the score. 

Tietgens had another great chance to net the go-ahead goal moments later but just missed wide on a breakaway attempt. Caroll then put Drury away for good with just over eight minutes left in the game, taking advantage of an error by Blue Devils goalie Cameron Lesure (five saves) and knocking in a cross from Pat Holmes.

"Facing Lee this afternoon knowing that we needed a tie or a win to move on was nerve racking," Caproni said. "We started the game better than years past travelling down to Lee but still found us trailing at half time. We kept at it in the second half, and the Jake-to-Jake combo found the back of the net. Things were looking good for us. We were controlling the game of play and had another goal in sight. We had our opportunities but just could not finish. It has been a year of ups and downs, and it is unfortunate that it had to end on this down."

The Wildcats earned a 12-6 edge in shots in the game and received a solid outting by goalkeeper Heamon Williams, who made 10 stops to earn the win. Lee drew the No. 7 seed in the Western Mass. tourney and will host No. 10 Sabis at 2 p.m. on Monday. 

Drury, meanwhile, will have plenty of time to sit back and reflect on a season that started so promising 

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