Drury boys soccer team qualifies for postseason with win over Wahconah
DALTON — Losing streak stopped, check. Qualify for the Western Massachusetts Division IV boys soccer tournament, check.
Reece Racette's goal with 10 minutes left in the second half broke a tie, giving Drury a 2-1 win over Wahconah Wednesday night.
With the win, the Blue Devils (9-4) qualified for the D-IV tournament for the second consecutive season, ended a two-game losing streak, and earned a modicum of revenge for Wahconah's 3-1 win in North Adams back on Sept. 13.
"It's a huge win for the boys," Drury's Jon Boland said. "It was tied 1-1, but we found a way to come back at the end of the game. It was a huge goal from Reece.
"I love it."
The Blue Devils had been 0-2 in games against North Division teams Wahconah and Mount Greylock.
"I know Wahconah is an excellent team playing in the toughest division," Drury coach John Jacobbe said. "To get a win on their field is huge for us. This is the type of team we have to learn how to beat."
Drury led 1-0 at halftime on a Boland goal at 14:42, and that was how it stayed until the second half. Boland shot from the right side into the upper left corner. Wahconah goalkeeper Anthony DonDiego had no chance on that shot.
As the clock began winding down in the final 40 minutes, the Warriors started attacking. Wave after wave of Wahconah players were in the Drury zone. Goalkeeper Corbin Rumbolt and defenders Jordan Todd, Daniel Alvarez, Jacob Brayman and Caleb Besaw were holding the Warriors at bay.
Finally, at 54:30, Wahconah got the tying goal. Kevin Huban scored off a corner kick that sailed through the box. Alvarez tried to clear, but it was ruled that the ball had crossed the goal line, so the score was knotted at 1.
"We talked about going at the front third, and in our front third, going to the goal more," Wahconah coach John Kovacs said. "Putting the pressure. Keeping it on the flanks, they're giving us the flanks, and keep the pressure on and crossing in."
As it was in the first half, Drury only needed one good scoring opportunity to get back on the board in the second.
Connor Clark took a corner kick from the right side to the far post. DonDiego could not punch the ball out of danger and Racette was able to put the ball into the net for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
"The ball was on the back post. I was uncovered on the beginning of the play, somehow, and I managed to slip it in there," Racette said. "I didn't even see it go in there, to be honest. I heard the crowd, and I said 'That went in?' and it went in. That's all that matters, and we were able to pull off the win."
While Wahconah had the better of play for much of the second half, the Warriors could not find a second goal. Kovacs said that scoring goals has been an issue for his club.
A prime example came with eight minutes left in the first half. Cole Accardi blew past the Drury defense and was one-on-one with Rumbolt. But he fired the shot right into the goalkeeper's chest.
"We've had a hard time scoring, so that's been part of the problem," said Kovacs. "When we get our chances, sometimes we haven't been [scoring]."
Drury still has four more games left, and the goal for Jacobbe and his team is to try and improve on their Division IV seed with some victories.
"I told the kids when we lost to Mount Greylock the other day, we have six games to get better," the Drury coach said. "We want to keep getting better. We took steps toward that today with a nice win."
Drury 1 1 — 2
Wahconah 0 1 — 1
D — Jon Boland (Mitch Anderson), 14:42.
W — Kevin Huban (unassisted), 54:30. D — Reece Racette (Connor Clark), 69:49.
Saves — D: Corbin Rumbolt 5. W — Anthony DonDiego 7.
Reach sports writer Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.
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