When the St. John’s Prep boys’ soccer team played at St. John’s (Shrewsbury) Oct. 3, the Prep left heartbroken after the Pioneers scored with 30 seconds left to win.
St. John’s Prep coach David Crowell tried to make certain his team would not suffer the same fate the next time around.
The 15th-ranked Eagles got a first-half goal from junior Aidan Dooley and held off a late charge to draw with the Pioneers, 1-1, in Shrewsbury Monday.
The result gives the Prep (8-5-5) much-needed momentum heading toward the playoffs.
“They’re a good team,” said Crowell. “They beat us, 1-0, the first time around. Now, we’re playing better all-around.”
Dooley netted his first varsity goal midway through the first half to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead at the break.
“We had a lot of pressure on them,” said Crowell. “A lot of our guys took the shot, but the ball came back to Aidan and he calmly placed it inside the far post.”
Crowell said it’s especially uplifting to see his team playing its best brand of soccer at such a crucial juncture of the season.
“We’re slowly getting guys back from injury,” said Crowell. “I’d say we’re peaking right now. Definitely playing some of our toughest soccer right now.”
Dooley has taken on a bigger role in the wake of some recent injuries.
“He’s stepped up,” said Crowell.
About eight minutes into the second frame, Shrewsbury began to find its legs and tied the score.
But the Eagles, who entered the game in a 4-4-2 formation as opposed to the 4-5-1 set they displayed in the first meeting, were able to stave off a late charge from the Pioneers to settle for the draw.
Shrewsbury, which plays a schedule largely against teams from Central and Western Mass., finished its regular season at 16-1-1.
“It’s great. Shrewsbury is definitely one of the best teams in the state,” said Crowell. “We definitely have some confidence moving forward.”
The Tournament Management Committee voted, 12-2, in favor of adding two new divisions for the 2016 season.
This was the final vote required to expand the football playoffs from six to eight divisions.
The TMC also requested the Football Committee appear before them in spring to discuss alignments.
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