Drury boys soccer team pulls off stunning rally to drop Westfield Tech, advance to Western Massachusetts Division IV semifinals
NORTH ADAMS — The Drury boys soccer team hadn't had a come-from-behind win all this season. So, down 2-1 with single-digit minutes to play, the Blue Devils were on unfamiliar ground.
Where they stood in the scheme of their Western Massachusetts tournament game was even less comfortable than the slippery and soggy field under a sky that had pelted both teams with nonstop rain since before the National Anthem. However, over the final eight minutes, Drury would use that slick surface to its advantage to pull out a stunning 3-2 win.
The fourth-seed Blue Devils came back to survive a lengthy scare at the hands of visiting No. 5 Westfield Tech and advance to the Western Mass. Division IV semifinals. Drury will battle No. 1 Hopkins — who rolled Hampden Charter 12-0 in its quarterfinal — on neutral turf at Holyoke High School on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Westfield Tech's Josh Bush was the beneficiary of a bad bounce off the head of a Drury defender during a Tigers corner kick. His goal with 22 minutes and 17 seconds on the clock broke a 1-1 tie and left the Blue Devils looking drenched and demoralized.
However, after a handful of close encounters with a goal of its own, Drury coach John Jacobbe called a timeout after his squad was awarded a free kick. The message was simple: keep attacking and don't let up.
"You're playing for your lives at that point, on your home field against a team you're evenly matched with. We had plenty of chances, just couldn't get anything on frame," said Jacobbe. "I just kept telling them you got to get one on the net. I said I don't care if you dribble it on net, shoot it on net, punt it on the net, you've got to get the ball on the net."
Connor Clark took the message to heart and wasted literally zero time in heeding his coach's words. He lined up the 35-yard free kick, saw the Tigers flinch forward and sent a low shot on net. With the ground slick, Tech goalkeeper Anatoliy Suprunchuk and his defense couldn't readjust in time, and Clark's freebie became the equalizer Drury needed to shift momentum.
"I just looked at the slipperiness of the field, and I tried to play it to my teammate and I think I actually mis-kicked it, but I guess it was a nice goal," said Clark. "My teammate was running at me, and that drew them out, they started coming at him, so I took the shot and it went in."
The celebration was brief, as the Blue Devils lined up to defend the ensuing kickoff and final 7:37 of game time. An attempted clear by the visitors was shanked a couple minutes later, and senior Jordan Todd managed to corral the ball on the left side of the field. He continued it along to classmate Jacob Brayman, who controlled with his chest, dribbled through two uneasy defenders and tapped it off to Max Daugherty deeper in the left corner. The junior midfielder settled with one touch and the next contact sent the ball bending around Suprunchuk and into the far right corner of the net.
"I did tell them that if we scored off that free kick, we were going to win this game in regulation," said Jacobbe. "Once you get that one, the momentum swings our way. We'd been trying to make the perfect shot all day, but in this weather its tough. But, Max hit one outside the 18 and bent it in. It was a beautiful goal."
Daugherty's game-winner came with 4:37 remaining. Drury goalie Corbin Rumbolt needed to make one more save in the closing minutes before the Blue Devils could make arrangements for a Wednesday road trip.
Rumbolt was immense in the second half, and as Jacobbe told his team postgame, Westfield Tech's two goals came on a lucky bounce off a Drury defender and on a 30-yard bomb that nicked the crossbar and sprung in. Twice after halftime, Rumbolt had to make split-second decisions to attack an oncoming Tiger and on both occasions the junior 'keeper won the one-on-one matchup and saved momentum from totally moving away from his side.
"I was just telling myself I needed to get there or else it was going to be a good shot on net for him," said Rumbolt. "They really focused on that one guy a lot, so it was the best choice to go get it and pressure the ball."
Drury drew first blood in the game before finding itself needing to claw back late. In the 27th minute, Caleb Besaw earned a steal in Tiger territory and got it to Todd, who found Jon Boland in the box. Boland's feed to Cove Massey was a short chip shot over the goalie, which Massey finished off with point-blank header into the net. Philip Lisyanyy launched in the tying goal just three minutes later and the game remained locked at one through halftime.
Drury 1 2 — 3
Westfield Tech 1 1 — 2
D — Cove Massey (Jon Boland), 26:24. WT — Philip Lisyanyy (Yeremy Kovylyak), 29:21.
WT — Josh Bush (unassisted), 57:30. D — Connor Clark (UA), 72:23. D — Max Daugherty, (Jacob Brayman), 75:23.
Saves — D: Corbin Rumbolt, 6. WT: Anatoliy Suprunchuk, 6.
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter or 413-496-6240.
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