QUINCY — Watertown may not have wanted it to be this close, but it knew exactly how to respond to the situation in Wednesday’s thrilling, 2-1 victory over Dover-Sherborn at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Watertown beat Weston in penalty kicks, 5-3, to win the North Sectional on Monday. And once again, Watertown found itself in another penalty shootout, this time against Dover-Sherborn, with the winner advancing to the Division 3 state final.
Watertown scored on its first penalty kick, then netminder Greg Koutroukas blocked Dover-Sherborn’s attempt. Dover-Sherborn made all its ensuing penalty kicks, but Vardan Yeghiyan had a chance to win it for Watertown. And just like against Weston, Yeghiyan went to the left, what he calls his “lucky side,” delivering the winning strike in the 5-3 triumph.
“We had confidence,” said an emotional Koutroukas. “This is the third time we went to penalty kicks, I knew we were going to bounce back. It’s just a matter of time. We just got one more championship game, we’re going to bring this town some happiness.”
Dover-Sherborn dictated the pace early, but Watertown gained some momentum in the first half and put a lot of pressure on Dover-Sherborn’s defense, which hadn’t given up a goal in the postseason. That changed 25 minutes into the half when Rafael DeSouza was credited with the first goal of the game.
Trailing, 1-0, at halftime, Dover-Sherborn coach Joe Gruseck told his team to be more physical on the attack and it did just that.
The equalizer came in the second half off a corner kick by Walker Littlehale. The ball hit a few bodies before eventually reaching the back of the net.
“It’s good to get this experience,” said Watertown coach Frank Cacia. “We were up in the game, then they tied the game. A lot of teams fold in that situation — momentum swings in the other team’s favor but you find a way to battle and stay in it.”
Both teams continued to chip away but were unable to capitalize on any of their opportunities. That continued into the two overtime periods, where there were some good scoring chances that never came to fruition.
Heading into the shootout, Watertown had the confidence that its postseason journey would not end in Quincy.
“It helps to have done it before,” said Cacia about the penalty kicks. “It’s not good on the heart for us but we’ll take it. We’re going to the state championship, it’s amazing.”
Watertown will play Sutton for the Division 3 state title Saturday at Foley Stadium in Worcester.