WORCESTER— West Springfield defeated Somerville, 4-3, in penalty kicks to win the boys’ Division 1 state soccer championship after the teams went scoreless through regulation and two overtimes.
In the shootout, both teams scored their first kick. Each team only made two of the following four, though. Marcelo Brociner, Somerville’s seventh shooter, scored, but midfielder Ethan Sweeting hit the cross bar. Senior James Kukharchuk shot next for the Terriers and scored to win it.
Somerville enjoyed the majority of possession for the first half when West Springfield struggled to string passes together in midfield. Somerville’s midfield, led by senior Francisco Fernandes Neto, controlled the game.
The Highlanders almost struck in the opening two minutes. Senior forward Thayrone Miranda took a shot that flew just past the post from 20 yards out.
Minutes later, forward Julio Lemus found Brociner sprinting down the right wing. Brociner took a touch and dragged his shot a couple of feet wide of the left post.
Terriers senior goalkeeper Alex Kraver was called upon in the 13th minute. Somerville defender Julian Murphy sent in a free kick that forced Kraver to toe his goal line and punch the ball away one-handed.
West Springfield began to have success offensively after the intermission, using its size advantage to get some set pieces in the air.
West Springfield forward Josh Robinson found himself on the end of a throw with his back to goal from 5 yards out. But the Somerville defense managed to clear.
In the 77th minute, Miranda picked up the ball near the right sideline and beat two West Springfield defenders before poking the ball near Kraver. Miranda managed to get a shot off but Kraver spread his arms wide and made a big save when Miranda’s shot deflected off Kraver’s arm.
That was the last scoring opportunity of regulation as the teams entered the first overtime period. West Springfield defender Matt Kolb deflected a shot from Somerville’s Lemus off the line to preserve the tie in the second overtime before the game went to penalties.
Terriers coach Nick Gumlaw said he told his team to forget the first half during his talk at intermission.
“We just weren’t playing our game in the first half,” said Gumlaw. “I told them at halftime, let’s move, let’s play with intensity and win balls in the air.”
Gumlaw was also quick to praise Kraver, who made big saves throughout the game to keep Somerville off the scoreboard.
“We’ve seen it from him all the time,” said Gumlaw. “He’s just one of the hardest working kids I know.”