Near perfect: Nauset finishes off 23-0 run with Division 2 title
LYNN — Twenty-three wins, zero losses, and a plus-107 scoring differential.
The numbers reveal just how dominant the Nauset Regional boys’ soccer team was in a 23-0 finish this fall.
The Warriors allowed their first goal of the season, to Masconomet Regional in Saturday’s Division 2 state final at Manning Field in Lynn. But junior midfielder James McCully netted his 37th and 38th goals of the season — one shy of his father’s season program record — to power Nauset to a 2-1 victory and its first state championship since 1979.
“We knew they were going to be the best team we’d played,” said Nauset coach John McCully, who scored 39 goals for that 1979 title team.
“Because of the matchup, their athleticism and the type of player they had up top.”
That player, Cape Ann League MVP Bryan Gilbert, and Masconomet (23-3-1) gave Nauset all it could hand.
McCully scored a little over two minutes into the game, finishing a feed from sophomore defender Curtis Moore. Masco responded quickly, but Nauset didn’t panic when its defensive streak was snapped.
After outscoring its previous 22 opponents, 106-0, Nauset finally cracked when Masco’s Michael Budrewicz finished a set up from Gilbert with 26 minutes to play in the first half.
“We thought about maybe calling a timeout, but we didn’t,” said the elder McCully.
“We thought, ‘Let’s let it play itself out . . . let’s see how good we are now.’ ”
The game slowed to a stalemate that stretched into the beginning of the second half.
The decisive moment came with 29 minutes to play, when McCully scored a stunner from the left side of the box to put Nauset up for good.
After a season of near perfection, Nauset will return eight starters, including keeper John Avellar. Avellar said he never lost confidence in his defense after he allowed his first goal of the season.
“You just have to play through it,” he said. “You get nervous but you have to get over it.”