BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The two top seeds in the Division 3 South boys' soccer bracket, No. 1 Cardinal Spellman and No. 2 Dover-Sherborn, both played up to their seedings Sunday. But, in the eighth round of penalty kicks, a well-placed boot from Spellman senior Robert Studley sent the Cardinals to the state semifinals for the second time in three seasons.
The teams were tied at one after full time and after two extra-time periods, but eventually the Cardinals advanced with a 6-5 advantage on penalties.
Penalty kicks are a tough way to loose any match and Cardinals head coach Mike Gerrish knows that firsthand.
“We lost that way in PK’s last year to Cohassett in the semifinals,” Gerrish said. “We practiced it a lot this year.”
Coming into the match, the Cardinals (22-0-0) had scored a jaw-dropping 102 goals, including 13 in their first three tournament games. But an equally impressive stat is that Dover-Sherborn (19-1-1) had only allowed three goals in 20 matches this season.
Spellman struck first just over a minute into the second half. Chris Morrison drove in a free kick that was won in the air by Studley, then crossed in by Nick DeLuca and headed home by senior Aaron Bailey for a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders almost tied the match on their next possession, but Spellman’s DeLuca was again involved in the action, this time heading away a goal-bound Chris Flight shot.
But there was no chance in stopping the Raiders' next shot.
With a half hour of regulation remaining, D-S senior forward Toby Howe made a brilliant turn atop the Cardinals box and unleashed a shot that found it’s way into the top right corner for the final score of the half.
Howe had a chance to win the game for DS in the first period of extra time, but the post denied him, and the two teams headed into a shootout.
With the teams deadlocked after seven rounds, Spellman took advantage of a Raiders' miss and Studley buried the game-winner.
“I just think we played with so much heart today,” said Gerrish of his team’s performance. “After playing yesterday then coming out playing a team like that today, taking them into double overtime hanging on and winning in PK’s is special.”