Ever since they were kicking the ball around in youth soccer, the seniors on the 2020 Carver boys’ soccer team had looked ahead to their final year in high school, and winning.
Despite all of the uncertainty and unusual circumstances COVID-19 infused into the season, the Crusaders’ collection of 10 seniors carried out what they said they would years earlier.
Behind three goals and an assist from one of those seniors, Dominic Craig, host Carver thumped Randolph, 5-1, to capture the South Shore League crown Thursday night.
“We’ve all been playing together since we were a U-8 team,” said Carver senior keeper Justin Ritz, who delivered 14 saves. “We were always nasty and we always talked about winning our senior year and how great we were going to be. I feel like we finally came out and proved it.”
With his four-point performance, Craig raised his career total to 106. Classmate Michael Sawicki, who notched his 100th point earlier this season, chipped in a goal and an assist, while senior Cam Besegai also found the back of the net for Carver (8-3-1).
After opening the scoring in the first quarter, Craig made it 2-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Moments later, Sawicki bested Blue Devils senior goalie Cairo Mills (seven saves) to lift his career point total to 107. Sawicki and Craig ranked second and third, respectively, in program history in career points behind 2001 grad Craig Williams (136).
It was a deflating sequence for Randolph (8-5-1), which continued to test Ritz during the second quarter after hitting the post twice in the first.
“Unfortunately, that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes,” Randolph coach Greg Bouffard said. “Had those shots gone in, it would’ve been a different game.”
Junior Angelot Brun cut the Blue Devils’ deficit to 4-1 when he buried a penalty kick in the third quarter, though any momentum the visitors gained from scoring was erased in the fifth minute of the fourth quarter when Craig scored to complete his hat trick.
“It’s an awesome way to end it, especially given the circumstances this year,” Craig said. “To win 5-1 and to have a hat trick — I couldn’t really ask for anymore.”
Hingham 2, Pembroke 1 — Jack Murtagh and Aidan Brazel netted second-half goals as the visiting Harbormen (8-3-3) advanced to face Marshfield in Saturday’s Patriot Cup final.
Quincy 1, North Quincy 0 — Thomas O’Neil scored the lone goal as the Presidents presented coach Dan Mongo with his first varsity win.
Bishop Fenwick 0, Austin Prep 0 (SO) — Jenna Durkin, Lea Bettencourt, Amy Hatfield, and McKenna Gilligan converted PKs in the shootout to lift host Fenwick to the Catholic Central Cup semifinal victory in Peabody. Gilligan, a junior defender, scored the clincher, launching a shot under the crossbar. The Crusaders (12-1-2) will play defending Division 1 state champion Bishop Feehan (13-0) in the league final on Saturday (TBA).
Middleborough 3, East Bridgewater 2 — After losing twice to East Bridgewater in the regular season — both decided by a single goal — Middleborough (8-4-1) won two straight games over the Vikings to capture its first South Shore League title.
“The girls work so tremendously hard,” coach Denis Cutler said. “To be able to bring that back to the town, and share it with the town, and celebrate it with the town is just a huge accomplishment for the whole team.”
After emerging victorious in a shootout win over East Bridgewater on Monday, the Sachems faced another nail-biter, winning on a penalty kick with two minutes left in the second overtime period.
In addition to converting the winning PK, senior Alexis Vanderzeyde assisted Mya Dupuy on Middleborough’s first goal and scored the second.
“It was a battle of wills out there, because the teams are so evenly matched,” Cutler said. “I told them, ‘we can’t take one play off. If we take one play off, that could be the possession that leads to them getting a goal.’”
A Viking handball in East Bridgewater’s box sealed the victory for the Sachems, as Vanderzeyde slotted the penalty kick easily into the left side of the net. “It’s an honor to coach these guys,” Cutler said. “They are a tremendously talented group, and the character of our team is fantastic. So it’s amazing to work with them and to be able to work with a team that also has high character and sportsmanship and competes hard but competes fair.”
Oliver Ames 3, Canton 1 — Two days after capturing the Hockomock League Cup over King Philip, the Tigers (8-1-5) defeated Canton (8-3-1) in the Hockomock League Challenge Cup behind goals from Alexa Lane, Emma Pereira, and Lauren Sellmayer. Lane put OA on top 16 minutes in with a shot from in front of the net. Fifteen minutes later, Pereira connected from a distance for a 2-0 cushion. Mia Gilmore scored for the Bulldogs, who had not played in two weeks due to COVID-19.
Austin Prep 3, Bishop Fenwick 0 — Led by Hayley Taber (10 kills), Molly Ardito (27 assists), and Amanda Patti (12 kills), the Cougars (6-2) won three close sets (26-24, 25-20, 25-22) to knock off the visiting Crusaders in a Catholic Central League Cup semifinal.
Austin Prep will face Bishop Feehan, 3-0 winners over Cardinal Spellman in the other semifinal, in the Catholic Central Cup final on Saturday.
“We’ve really been focusing on staying consistent with our playing and what we need to do to succeed on each point,” said Austin Prep coach Meg Harkins. “Our girls have taken each practice and game with a good attitude and it shows they have really matured. We’re really looking forward to playing for a championship on Saturday.”