Tewksbury BU16 Reaches Tournament Of Champions Semifinals
Congratulations to the Tewksbury BU16 soccer team for getting all the way to the state semi-final game: Brandon Alves, Phil Borges, Andrew Boudreau, Scott Callahan, Josh Cardia, Jeff Carr, Alec DiCaccio, John Donovan, Mike Flynn, Eric Gallant, Christian Lucchesi, Connor MacLean, Chris McCabe, Nick McKeon, Rafael Perez, Akash Ranjit, Cody Souza, Mohamad Yatim, Head Coach Nader Kalkhoran, and assistant coaches Brian Gallant and Jim Carr.
Tewksbury BU16-1 1 Carver 0
Tewksbury's BU16 soccer team was one of three Tewksbury teams at this year's Massachusetts Tournament of Champions. While they did not accomplish their ultimate goal of winning the state championship, the team represented itself exceptionally well by going undefeated in the preliminary round and making it to the Final Four. The Redmen's first opponent in the preliminary round was against Carver from the Coastal Youth Soccer League. Like the Redmen, they were unbeaten during their league's regular season. The 10 AM game played out as expected with both squads having a difficult time scoring, but eventually Tewksbury came out on top registering a 1-0 victory. Carver started strong in the first five minutes of the game as they were able to get past the Tewksbury defenders a couple of times. But Carver was unable to capitalize and soon the Redmen fullbacks figured out Carver's strategy along with a position change moving Chris McCabe from attacking midfield to defensive midfielder combined to put the clamps down on any further attacks. Tewksbury had their own trouble creating scoring chances and the first half ended with both teams scoreless. The preliminary round games are short with only 25:00 halves, so the first team to score would be at a huge advantage. In the 17th minute of the second half, Tewksbury broke the ice. Midfielder Josh Cardia had the ball near midfield and was about to beat his man so the Carver middie resorted to a foul. Andrew Boudreau took the direct kick and sent the ball to Carver's penalty arc where all of Carver's defense was lined up. Carver's goalie was yelling for the ball, so the defense stepped aside to let him have it. But striker Nick McKeon was also in the vicinity and gave the ball a tap toward the goal. Carver's keeper had too much momentum and overran the ball allowing it to roll into the empty net.
Tewksbury BU16-1 3 Grafton 0
Tewksbury's second game was a bookend to the day on Friday, taking place at 5 PM against Grafton - the Midland Area Youth Soccer League wildcard entry. Tewksbury proved to be a much better team, taking home an easy 3-0 victory. McKeon again got the Redmen on the board, this time early in the game. In the fifth minute, Alec DiCaccio sent a ball to the middle of the field that a Grafton player couldn't control and sent it bouncing to Nick who was stationed at the last defender. McKeon beat him and went in alone against the keeper who had no chance at stopping the powerful blast to the left corner. Ten minutes later, Tewksbury tallied another score with Jeff Carr setting up their second goal. Cody Souza worked a pass to Carr who took the ball all the way to the flag in the left corner. A couple of good ball fakes got Carr around the defender and moving freely along the goal line. Connor MacLean came in free at the eighteen and finished the pass from Carr low and to the goalie's left. Nick McKeon finished the scoring for the half with a blast to the top of the net over the keeper from the top of the penalty arc. With the game in hand and the end of a long day in sight, both teams struggled to mount any attack in the second half. But the Tewksbury squad did enough to finish the day with two wins and a wide enough goal differential to go into day two needing only a tie in their final preliminary round game to advance.
Tewksbury BU16-1 1 Rockland 0
Tewksbury's final preliminary round game was against Rockland, champs of the South Shore Soccer League and also undefeated all season. Rockland also won both of their games so it would be a game of two very evenly matched teams. After a scoreless first half, . Tewksbury scored in the fifth minute. Connor MacLean sent a corner kick perfectly into the box. Cody Souza stood his ground between the keeper and the ball forcing a Rockland defender to try and clear it out. McKeon blocked the attempted clear out deflecting the kick directly into the goal. Now behind on the scoreboard, Rockland turned up the intensity since they had no guarantees of advancement unless they won the game outright. As the game progressed and the final whistle got closer, things became more physical and emotions grew hotter. Each team received a yellow card for physical play. In the 22nd minute Rockland kicked the ball out of bounds past the goal line, giving the Redmen goal kick. But in the act of the kick, the referee felt that Tewksbury was intentionally delaying the game and issued a yellow card. The result was an indirect kick on the six yard line. It looked like a golden opportunity for a tying goal. The players made a wall on the goal line and Tewksbury keeper Rafael Perez came up big getting his hands on the ball and deflecting it out into the penalty area where the Redmen were able to clear it away, ending the last viable threat. The third game ended 1-0 with Tewksbury finishing the preliminary round with three shutout wins. The defensive unit of Eric Gallant, Scott Callahan, Akash Ranjit, and Andrew Boudreau was outstanding and a main reason the Redmen advanced to the semi-finals to face Lynn.
Tewksbury BU16-1 0 Lynn 2
The semi-final play-off game was an 8 AM start on Sunday, and Tewksbury carried the play in the first half. The Redmen gave themselves three or four good scoring opportunities, but somehow came up empty, and the half finished 0-0. In this round, the game was played with full 40 minute halves. It looked like the tough preliminary round match-ups took their toll on the Tewksbury squad, because as the second half wore on, the Redmen seemed just a little slower to the ball. Midway through the half, Lynn scored twice within three minutes of each other and then was able to keep the ball away from their opponent enough to make the two goal lead stand up as a final score of 2-0.