SHEFFIELD -- Zieko Lewis had a goal and an assist and the Berkshire School defense limited Kent to seven shots on net as the top-ranked Bears advanced to the finals of the New England Prep School Scholastic Athletic Con ference soccer tournament with a 2-0 win over Kent School of Connecticut on Saturday.
The final is today at Middlesex School in Con cord at 11 a.m. Berkshire (18-0-1) will face the winner of No.2 seed Worcester Academy and No. 3 seed Phillips Exeter Academy, a contest played later on Saturday.
The game was physical throughout. A total of six yellow cards were handed out, five to Kent. Berkshire co-captain Noah Zinkoff of Richmond was taken off the field with a head injury at 66:52. Berkshire coach Jon Moodey said he did not expect Zinkoff to play today.
"It was unfortunate that the game got a little out of hand [in the second half]," said Moodey. "But I give our kids credit for keeping their composure. We played them in Kent earlier in the year [a 1-0 Berkshire win] and it was pretty physical up there, too."
Following a scoreless first half, the Bears finally broke the ice at 56:05, when midfielder Jack Harrison got a pass from Lewis and slammed a shot that careened off a Kent player into the net.
Up to that point in the second half, Kent had been pressing the Bears. Ibrahim Mutala and Emmanuel Twumasi, Kent’s very dangerous strikers, had been, for the most part, bottled up by the Bears’ defenders. But Mutala broke free for a fairly good shot on goal, which was smothered by Berkshire goalie Sam Clougher, and Twumasi made a pair of nice runs down the field.
Overall though, Berkshire defenders Brandon Allen and Nate Summers swept away most of Kent’s assaults before they got close enough to Clougher.
After Sinkoff’s injury, Kent tried to step up the pressure. But senior Matt Ranzi, who commutes from Richmond, ably substituted for Zinkoff, a Richmond guy spelling a Richmond guy,
"Matt Renzi played a tremendous game for us today," said Moodey. "He stepped up, big time."
And slowly, Berkshiure’s halfbacks, particularly Har ri son, Haden Cosman and Luis Echvarria, began taking control of midfield. The blazing-fast Lewis, along with Justin Donowa and Anthony Amolo, were getting good shots. It seemed only a matter of time before Berkshire would get the insurance goal.
With 12:26 left, Lewis drove the dagger home. Running down a clearing pass from Summers about 45 feet out, he spun and flipped the ball onto his forehead, actually balancing there for a few steps. This move got him past both the Kent fullbacks trying to mark him. Lewis then took one step and drilled the ball past Kent goalie Charles Pardoe. It was a magnificent goal and it write the Bears’ ticket to Sunday’s title game.
"Zieko is a special player," admitted Moodey. "He’s pretty amazing to watch."
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