Westborough boys’ soccer rallies late to steal victory, league title from G-D

GROTON – The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boys’ soccer team needed a win or a tie against the Westborough Rangers Wednesday at G-DRHS to clinch the Midland-Wachusett B Division championship and a top-four seed in the MIAA Division 1 Central tournament. They had reason to be confident, having already beaten Westborough 4-3 on the road earlier this season.

But the Rangers scored two goals in the final 12 minutes to steal a 3-2 victory, as well as the league championship, and leave the tournament seedings a mystery.

Jake Pirdy found redemption after scoring an own goal early in the first half by scoring the game winner with under two minutes to play. In a 2-on-1 situation, Jameson Bradley went to Pirdy on the right wing, who got into the box and beat Crusader keeper Tyler Belanger with a grounder to the left to cue the celebration for the Westborough players and their fans.

“[Pirdy] split in between two defenders,” G-D head coach Sean Wisbey said. “I said to my guys, ‘You’ve got to keep yourselves in front of [Pirdy and Bradley].’ When you’ve got six guys defending the last four minutes trying to keep the game tied, and you fail to do it, you don’t deserve to win.”

Pirdy’s own goal came in the fifth minute when Dean Tornaritis fired a shot that ricocheted off of Westborough keeper Griffin Barry (nine saves) and back in off of Pirdy.

The Rangers responded just two minutes later when Bradley scored his first of two goals in similar fashion. An initial shot was deflected in the box by a Crusader defender, but the rebound came right to Bradley, enabling him to bury it top shelf.

The Crusaders took the lead back in the 14th minute by navigating some choppy waters. Swarmed by Westborough defenders, Matt Straw found an opening to spring Mitch Wheeler, allowing him to get a dribbler past Barry to make it 2-1.

The Rangers pulled even again in the 69th minute in controversial fashion. A corner kick led to lots of contact in the box by both teams, but the referees awarded a penalty kick to Westborough, despite the protests of the Crusaders. Bradley did the honors, and fired it into the upper right corner of the net.

“I thought we had control through the middle of the match,” Wisbey said. “In the last twenty minutes, [Westborough] knew they had to win the game to win the league.”

Wisbey had high praise for Bradley, calling him Westborough’s best player and one of the best in the league.

With the Crusaders and Rangers finishing the season with identical 12-4-2 records, they will likely enter the sectional tournament as the no. 4 and 5 seeds. Wisbey knows that with 11 teams likely qualifying for sectionals, they would meet again next week in the quarterfinals. Which team gets home-field advantage for that game will be up to a coin flip.

“I have to look at the silver lining,” Wisbey said. “We didn’t get it today, but maybe it’s meant to be in the playoffs.”

For more G-D sports coverage, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

2014 MIAA Football Playoff Seedings

All games are on October 31st at 7 p.m. at higher seed’s school unless otherwise noted.

Division 1 North

1. Everett (6-1) 19.57
2. St. John’s Prep (6-1) 19.29
3. Central Catholic (6-1) 18.86
4. Peabody (6-1) 14.00
5. Lexington (4-3) 13.00
6. Andover (5-2) 12.29
7. Chelmsford (5-2) 11.57
8. Malden (5-2) 11.57

Quarterfinal matchups:

Malden @ Everett
Lexington @ Peabody
Chelmsford @ St. John’s Prep, November 1st, 1 p.m.
Andover @ Central Catholic, Veterans Stadium, Lawrence

Division 1 South

1. Xaverian (7-0) 19.57
2. Newton North (7-0) 16.43
3. Brockton (5-2) 16.29
4. Catholic Memorial (4-3) 14.29
5. Bridgewater-Raynham (4-3) 14.14
6. BC High (3-4) 10.00
7. New Bedford (4-3) 9.71
8. Attleboro (3-4) 9.14

Quarterfinal matchups:

Attleboro @ Xaverian, November 1st, 1:30 p.m.
Bridgewater-Raynham @ Catholic Memorial
New Bedford @ Newton North, details TBA
BC High @ Brockton, details TBA

Division 2 North

1. Reading (5-2) 15.57
2. North Andover (5-2) 14.71
3. Lincoln-Sudbury (5-3) 14.57
4. Haverhill (5-2) 14.57
5. Newton South (5-2) 11.86
6. Lynn Classical (3-4) 9.29
7. Waltham (3-4) 9.14
8. Westford Academy (2-5) 7.14

Quarterfinal matchups:

Westford @ Reading
Newton South @ Haverhill, November 1st, 6 p.m.
Waltham @ North Andover
Lynn Classical @ Lincoln-Sudbury

Division 2 South

1. King Philip (7-0) 21.00
2. Marshfield (6-1) 15.71
3. Natick (6-1) 14.86
4. Needham (5-2) 14.86)
5. Quincy (6-1) 14.43
6. Duxbury (5-2) 14.29
7. Mansfield (4-2) 12.50
8. Braintree (4-3) 11.00

Quarterfinal matchups:

Braintree @ King Philip, details TBA
Quincy @ Needham, details TBA
Mansfield @ Marshfield, details TBA
Duxbury @ Natick, details TBA

Division 2 Central

1. Leominster (5-2) 13.86
2. St. John’s (5-2) 13.43
3. Wachusett(4-2) 12.83
4. Shrewsbury (5-2) 12.57
5. Algonquin (5-2) 12.00
6. North Middlesex(5-2) 11.71
7. Fitchburg (3-4) 9.71
8. Marborough (3-4) 9.14

Quarterfinal matchups:

Marlborough @ Leominster
Algonquin @ Shrewsbury
Fitchburg @ St. John’s, November 1st, 1 p.m.
North Middlesex @ Wachusett

Division 3 Northeast

1. Masconomet (6-1) 17.43
2. Marblehead (7-0) 17.00
3. Tewksbury (5-2) 15.86
4. Beverly (3-4) 10.00
5. Wilmington (3-4) 10.00
6. Danvers (3-4) 10.00
7. Somerville (2-5) 8.43
8. Revere (2-5) 6.71

Quarterfinal matchups:

Revere @ Masconomet
Wilmington @ Beverly, November 1st, 1 p.m., Hurd Stadium, Beverly
Somerville @ Marblehead
Danvers @ Tewksbury, November 1st, 1 p.m.

Division 3 Northwest

1. Concord-Carlisle (6-0) 20.17
2. Woburn (7-0) 18.57
3. Melrose (5-2) 14.57
4. Arlington (5-2) 13.29
5. Wayland (4-3) 11.86
6. Wakefield (4-3) 11.71
7. Winchester (2-5) 7.86
8. Burlington (2-5) 7.71

Quarterfinal matchups:

Burlington @ Concord-Carlisle, November 1st, 6 p.m.
Wayland @ Arlington
Winchester @ Woburn
Wakefield @ Melrose

Division 3 Southeast

1. Somerset Berkley (7-0) 19.43
2. Dartmouth (5-2) 16.00
3. Dighton-Rehoboth (5-2) 14.71
4. Plymouth South (4-3) 12.00
5. Plymouth North (3-4) 8.71
6. Sandwich (3-4) 8.57
7. Nauset (2-5) 8.00
8. Whitman-Hanson (3-4) 7.71

Quarterfinal matchups:

Whitman-Hanson @ Somerset Berkley
Plymouth North @ Plymouth South, details TBA
Nauset @ Dartmouth, November 1st, 1 p.m., Veterans Memorial Stadium, Dartmouth
Sandwich @ Dighton-Rehoboth, details TBA

Division 3 Southwest

1. Walpole (7-0) 20.00
2. Stoughton (7-0) 19.86
3. North Attleboro (5-2) 15.43
4. Milford (4-3) 12.71
5. Hopkinton (3-4) 11.71
6. Medfield (5-2) 11.14
7. Oliver Ames (3-4) 10.29
8. Bishop Feehan (3-4) 9.43

Quarterfinal matchups:

Bishop Feehan @ Walpole
Hopkinton @ Milford, details TBA
Oliver Ames @ Stoughton, 6 p.m.
Medfield @ North Attleboro, details TBA

Division 4 North

1. Winthrop (7-0) 20.86
2. Watertown (7-0) 19.43
3. Lynnfield (7-0) 16.43
4. Weston (5-2) 15.43
5. Triton (5-2) 13.86
6. Saugus (5-2) 13.71
7. Swampscott (3-4) 11.00
8. Hamilton-Wenham (4-3) 10.57

Quarterfinal matchups:

Hamilton-Wenham @ Winthrop
Trition @ Weston
Swampscott @ Watertown
Saugus @ Lynnfield

Division 4 South

1. Holliston (7-0) 21.71
2. Apponequet (7-0) 18.29
3. Middleboro (7-0) 17.71
4. Foxboro (5-2) 16.43
5. Westwood (4-3) 14.43
6. Hanover (5-2) 14.43
7. Dennis-Yarmouth (5-2) 13.71
8. Scituate (3-4) 11.86

Quarterfinal matchups:

Scituate @ Holliston, details TBA
Westwood @ Foxboro, details TBA
Dennis-Yarmouth @ Apponequet
Hanover @ Middleboro

Division 4 Central

1. Shepherd Hill (6-1) 15.29
2. St. Peter-Marian (4-3) 11.00
3. Doherty (4-3) 10.29
4. Grafton (3-4) 9.86
5. Nipmuc (4-3) 8.57
6. Holy Name (3-4) 8.43
7. Worcester North (4-3) 8.14
8. Groton-Dunstable (3-4) 8.00

Quarterfinal matchups:

Groton-Dunstable @ Shepherd Hill, November 1st
Nipmuc @ Grafton
Worcester North @ St. Peter-Marian, November 1st, 1 p.m.
Holy Name @ Doherty

Division 5 North

1. Bishop Fenwick (7-0) 21.43
2. Brighton (7-0) 16.86
3. Whittier (5-2) 13.71
4. East Boston (4-3) 13.14
5. Lowell Catholic (5-2) 12.86
6. St. Mary’s (4-3) 12.14
7. Greater Lawrence (4-2) 10.83
8. Madison Park (4-3) 10.29

Quarterfinal matchups:

Madison Park @ Bishop Fenwick, time TBA
Lowell Catholic @ East Boston, time TBA
Greater Lawrence @ Brighton,, time TBA
St. Mary’s @ Whittier, November 1st, 10:30 a.m.

Division 5 South

1. East Bridgewater (6-1) 21.43
2. Abington (6-1) 18.57
3. Rockland (5-2) 16.14
4. Greater New Bedford (5-2) 14.14
5. Ashland (4-3) 13.43
6. Cardinal Spellman (3-3) 12.17
7. Dover-Sherborn (4-3) 12.00
8. Fairhaven (4-3) 11.00

Quarterfinal matchups:

Fairhaven @ East Bridgewater
Ashland @ Greater New Bedford
Dover-Sherborn @ Abington
Cardinal Spellman @ Rockland

Division 5 Central

1. Northbridge (7-0) 18.29
2. Uxbridge (6-1) 14.00
3. Bartlett (6-1) 13.86
4. Lunenburg (5-2) 13.29
5. Tyngsboro (6-1) 12.71
6. Auburn (5-2) 12.00
7. David Prouty (5-2) 10.86
8. Clinton (3-4) 8.43

Quarterfinal matchups:

Clinton @ Northbridge
Tyngsboro @ Lunenburg
David Prouty @ Uxbridge, November 1st, 1 p.m.
Auburn @ Bartlett

Division 6 North

1. Dorchester (6-1) 18.86
2. Essex Tech (6-1) 16.86
3. Cathedral (6-1) 16.14
4. Boston English (5-2) 15.57
5. Mystic Valley (6-1) 14.43
6. Latin Academy (4-3) 12.86
7. New Mission (3-4) 11.14
8. O’Bryant (4-3) 11.00

Quarterfinal matchups:

O’Bryant @ Dorchester, time TBA
Mystic Valley @ Boston English, time TBA
New Mission @ Essex Tech, November 1st, 6 p.m.
Latin Academy @ Cathedral, time TBA

Division 6 South

1. Pope John Paul II (7-0) 19.71
2. Southeastern (7-0) 17.57
3. Nantucket (7-0) 16.86
4. Millis-Hopedale (5-2) 16.43
5. Mashpee (6-1) 15.14
6. Cohasset (5-2) 14.57
7. Bishop Connolly (5-2) 13.86
8. West Bridgewater (4-3) 12.71

Quarterfinal matchups:

West Bridgewater @ Pope John Paul II, November 1st, Mass Maritime Academy
Mashpee @ Millis-Hopedale, Millis HS
Bishop Connolly @ Southeastern
Cohasset @ Nantucket, November 1st, 5 p.m.

Division 6 Central

1. Littleton (6-1) 16.14
2. Blackstone Valley (7-0) 16.00
3. Maynard (6-1) 14.00
4. St. Bernard’s (6-1) 12.86
5. Worcester Tech (5-2) 12.00
6. Bay Path (5-2) 11.43
7. Assabet Valley (3-4) 8.57
8. West Boylston (3-4) 8.29

Quarterfinal matchups:

West Boylston @ Littleton
Worcester Tech @ St. Bernard’s
Assabet Valley @ Blackstone Valley, November 1st, 1 p.m.
Bay Path @ Maynard

West seedings to come later…

Last-minute goal gives Bedford field hockey win

BEDFORD – Kelli Gagnon scored two goals, including the game-winner with 12 seconds left, to give the Bedford Buccaneers a 3-2 nonleague win over the North Reading Hornets Friday at BHS. Olivia Citrano had the other Bedford tally.

Chloe Gladu and Liz Carlson scored for North Reading.

Second-half surge powers Rivers past Groton

GROTON – The Groton Zebras scored the first touchdown of the game, but the Rivers Red Wings took care of all the scoring from there en route to a 33-7 victory at the Groton School Saturday.

The Red Wings put the game away by scoring touchdowns on each of their first three drives in the second half. They opened with a five-play, 65-yard drive that took just 2:28 off the clock, with only one play not resulting in a first down or touchdown. Jamari Venter (115 all-purpose yards) ran it in from one yard out, and with the extra point, Rivers was up 19-7.

After forcing a Groton three-and-out and a short punt that set them up at the Groton 39, Rivers went to work again, as Justen Voghel (11-of 13, 174 yards) hooked up with wide receiver Azar Swain (124 receiving yards) for a 24-yard touchdown pass, the second of two connections between the two on the day.

Rivers would put the icing on the cake on the first play of the fourth quarter as Venters notched his second rushing touchdown of the game from five yards out.

The Rivers defense ensured that Groton could not climb back into it, holding them to just 16 yards of offense in the second half.

Groton opened the game on fire, rushing for three first downs on their first three plays with three different players. But after gaining 12 yards on the fourth play, Taggart Eymer, the fourth different ball carrier on the drive, had the ball stripped, leading to a Rivers recovery.

The Groton defense forced a three-and-out after the fumble, however, and that led to their only touchdown of the game. Once again, four different Groton players carried the ball, with John Beatty (nine carries, 78 yards; one sack) punctuating the drive with a 25-yard touchdown rush.

Rivers would retaliate on their next possession, with Voghel connecting with Swain for a five-yard touchdown pass on 4th & goal to complete a 10-play, 61-yard drive. Groton blocked the extra point, however, and Rivers trailed 7-6.

Rivers would take the lead for good in the second quarter, needing just two plays to cover 47 yards for the score. Venter scampered in from 19 yards after Voghel found Swain for 28 yards.

Quarterback Arthur Jelin (71 all-purpose yards) and running back Will Richardson (10 carries, 84 yards) played well on offense for Groton (2-3), who will travel to St. Paul’s Saturday for a 3:15 p.m. kickoff.

For more Groton sports coverage, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

G-D has no answers for Fitchburg in 46-0 romp

FITCHBURG – The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders were blown out of the proverbial water Friday night by the Fitchburg Red Raiders in a 46-0 shellacking at Crocker Field.

Things looked bleak for the Crusaders right from the opening drive as a high snap on 3rd & 7 was recovered by Fitchburg’s Bruce Johnson to set up the Red Raiders on the G-D 39 yard line. On the ensuing drive, Darius Flowers (8-for-12, 108 yards) threw his first of three touchdown passes, a 10-yard strike to Nick Myles (five receptions, 62 yards) to put the Red Raiders up 7-0 with 6:50 to play in the first quarter.

Everything that could go wrong did for the Crusaders. Countless missed tackles, five botched snaps, two fumbles, and an interception led to the Red Raiders outgaining them, 287-14. The Red Raiders could have had more yardage, but they were afforded short fields thanks to three G-D turnovers and great special teams play, including an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown by Flowers in the second quarter and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Andrew Lara in the third. Lara caught the punt the split second it left Eric Yanchenko’s foot and ran it in untouched.

“We didn’t show up,” G-D head coach Derek Asadoorian said. “Fitchburg played pretty well, and we helped them out. It was pretty ugly.”

Even when the Crusaders were in a position to make a stop and get the ball back, they couldn’t hold up. This was exemplified late in the second quarter after an interception by Johnson set up the Red Raiders at the G-D 20. On 4th & 17, Flowers hooked up with Manny Payton for a 17-yard touchdown pass, even with two Crusaders defenders blanketing him.

The Red Raiders wrapped up their first-half scoring with a safety by Lara to go into halftime up 27-0.

The Crusaders tried to muster some momentum with an onside kick to start play, but it went out of bounds and gave the Raiders excellent field position again, this time at their own 44-yard line. That would lead to a Flowers 7-yard touchdown pass to Payton.

“We’ve had a lot of adversity,” Asadoorian said. “We’re lacking some leadership. We’re trying to find out identity. It hasn’t been easy with two tough games the past two weeks… we couldn’t pull them out, but it was nice to see that we battled, and tonight we didn’t have it. Hopefully we can get back to work and get better for next week.”

The Crusaders’ 2014 campaign has seen a promising 2-0 start give way to four straight losses. A win would have all but clinched a spot in the MIAA Division 4 Central playoffs, as they would have gotten bonus points for defeating a Division 2 team in Fitchburg (2-4). Now they must win next Friday at homecoming against Westborough in order to have a shot at qualifying.

“We just have to play our game and execute,” Asadoorian said when asked what it would take to beat Westborough. “We have to rally around each other. It’s a team game. We have to get a good all-around effort.”

For more G-D sports coverage, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

G-D Girls’ Cross Country Remains Undefeated

GROTON – The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girls’ cross country team improved to 8-0 on the season with a 25-30 victory over Marlborough Friday.

Freshman Emily Wilson continued her phenomenal season with her fourth first place finish, at a time of 20:06. Sarah Mullins, Samantha Ferraro, Megan Odell, and Kate Nash also finished in the top ten for the Crusaders, who were running without captain Emily McAuliffe.

The Crusaders have two meets remaining: at home vs. Ayer-Shirley on Wednesday the 15th and at Westborough on Monday the 20th, before the road to States begins with the Midland-Wachusett League Meet at Ghiloni Park in Marlborough on Saturday, October 25th.

For more G-D sports coverage, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

G-D boys’ soccer qualifies for state tournament with 3-0 win

GROTON – Matt Tornaritis had a goal and an assist as the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders won posted a second straight 3-0 victory Thursday, this time over the Quabbin Panthers at G-DRHS.

It was also the second straight game for the Crusaders that was scoreless at halftime. Tornaritis opened the scoring in the 49th minute as he hit a free kick pas the Panther wall and into the lower corner, beating Quabbin goalie Garrett Maggio. Mitch Wheeler scored from close range off a feed from Tornaritis five minutes later. Matt Krikorian rounded out the scoring in the 67th minute as he took a pass from Eric Niemoller and blasted it in near post.

It was the third straight shutout victory for the Crusaders, including Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Nashoba and Saturday’s 1-0 decision over Dracut.

The Crusaders controlled the offensive tempo throughout the game, outshooting Quabbin 21-2. They also had five corner kicks compared to just two for the Panthers (2-7-3, 1-5 Mid-Wach B), and committed fewer fouls (9-4).

Luke Costello, Tyler Potras, Gabe Dingle, and Matt Straw also played well in the win for the Crusaders, (9-3-1, 6-0 Mid-Wach B) who clinched a spot in the MIAA Division 1 Central tournament. They will travel to Marlboro Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

For more G-D sports coverage, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

Second half outburst propels G-D boys’ soccer over Nashoba

GROTON – A fluke goal early in the second half opened the floodgates for the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders to come away with a 3-0 victory over the Nashoba Chieftains Tuesday at G-DRHS.

Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Chieftains stood at 1-5-2, but had not allowed more than two goals in a game. And after a scoreless, evenly-matched first half, it looked like the trend would continue.

“(Nashoba is} well coached,” G-D head coach Sean Wisbey said. “They didn’t have the offensive power that they’ve had in the past couple of years, but they still play good soccer.”

But the Crusaders got on the board in the 44th minute. Eric Niemoller lofted the ball towards the net, and the Nashoba goalie went up to haul it in, but didn’t secure it properly and it slipped through his hands and into the net.

“That’s something that will deflate a team,” Wisbey said. “I felt for him.”

89 seconds later, Matt Straw took a feed from Gabe Dingle and put a shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net to put the Crusaders up 2-0. They would put the icing on the cake in the 53rd minute as Dingle took a throw in from Tyler Poitras on the left side and delivered a cross to Dean Tornaritis, who headed it home.

“I knew it was going to be a game that was going to go into the second half competitively,” Wisbey said. “They didn’t start out well in the second half. We knew we had to come out and score goals early in the second half to get the advantage.”

With starting goalie Chris Buzan out for another week with an injury and backup Nick Resca out for the season, the Crusaders were forced to put midfielder Tyler Belanger in the gray jersey. He turned in an outstanding performance, making six saves, five in the first half, en route to his second straight clean sheet.

“We’re starting to play better team defense,” Wisbey said. “Thing are slowly starting to come together defensively. When you play big teams like Algonquin and Shrewsbury, you can’t give up goals. They’re going to be tight games.”

The Crusaders have been treading water nicely with injuries, and with most of those players coming back in the next couple of weeks, including Buzan and Pat Keating, that can only mean good things for the Crusaders as they make a run for the state tournament.

“I’ve got five guys sidelined right now,” Wisbey said. “We’re starting to become a healthy team again… We know we have the offense to score goals… I’m pleased to be where we are.”

The Crusaders (8-3-1, 5-0-0 Mid-Wach B) improved to 4-0 at home. They outshot Nashoba 20-9, had all seven corner kicks in the game, and committed just five fouls to Nashoba’s 10. They can clinch a postseason berth with a win or tie Thursday at home against Quabbin at 4 p.m.

For more G-D sports news, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

Introducing the Local Sports Productions Bullpen

As you may or may not know, I run Local Sports Productions entirely by myself. I write all the articles, I record all the videos, I produce all the broadcasts. But sometimes I get a slew of requests for help that leaves me able to only pick one, and I hate disappointing my clients. That’s where you come in.

Today I’m announcing the formation of the Local Sports Productions Bullpen, a group of freelancers like me who will help me fulfill the needs of my clients when multiple assignments pile up in one day. Like an internship, it’s a way to get exposure and experience. Unlike an internship, you’re actually going to get paid.

See, I don’t believe in working for free, so I’m not going to ask you to work for me for free either. That being said, I will not pay you directly; rather, I will make arrangements with my clients to have them pay you. In some cases this may involve filling out a W-9 with that client and/or sending them an invoice.

The LSP Bullpen is open to aspiring or experienced play-by-play announcers, writers, and videographers. Requirements include:

  • At least one year of experience as a videographer, writer, or play-by-play or color commentator for high school, college, amateur, or professional sports (freelance, volunteer, part-time, or full-time)
  • For play-by-play announcers: Laptop computer with USB headset and Audacity, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot (in your phone or as an external device)
  • For videographers: Video editing software (Windows Movie Maker or iMovie will do) and DVD burner; creation of Hudl, YouTube, or other video hosting site account may be required as well
  • For writers: Photography skills are a plus, but not required.

Please send samples of your work to sam@localsportsproductions.com. Being accepted to the Bullpen does not guarantee a regular schedule, rather it puts you on a call list for when I need backup.