WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Behind a stifling defensive effort and two goals from Chad Burke, Masconomet (17-3-3) earned — and did they have to earn it, in a game that had the feeling of a rugby match — a 2-0 victory over Greater New Bedford Vocational (19-3-1) in the Div. 1 state-semifinals last night at Weymouth High.
The Chieftains will now play in their first state finals since 2008, as they take on Ludlow in the Div. 1 finals on Friday in Worcester.
Masconomet head coach David Mitchell has seen his team play physical and outmuscle teams before this game, which ended early because of five yellow cards called on the Bears.
“You go through the tournament and you play some physical games,” said Mitchell. “We gave up some penalties, but I’d like to think that we don’t do anything that’s disrespecting the game. This is the high school level, so it’s a tough, physical game and these guys played that. … The physical part of the game hasn’t been that new to us come tournament time.”
The Chieftains grabbed an early lead when Burke potted his first with his head off a corner kick in the first five minutes of play.
The challenge for Mitchell and his defense was keeping Flavio Carvahlo and the talented Bears offensive attackers off the scoreboard for almost 60 minutes until the Chieftains could put away the insurance goal they needed.
“We got a little away from what got us (in the lead), which was try and play some possession,” said Mitchell. “I just tried to settle them down and said, “Fellas we can’t go 40 minutes against a team this good just knocking the ball to their back four again. … By no means was it easy. We ended up being far more counter attacking then we would like to be.”
Burke did plenty of attacking to get the Chieftains on the board again with 15:25 left in the second half. Chip Sherman beat the Bears goalie with a shot to the far post, but his attempt slowly rolled in and hit off the right post. Burke made sure the rebound would be cleaned up when he swooped in and stretched the lead to 2-0.
“It’s one of those things, on both goals I was in the right place at the right time,” said Burke.
The Bears had a tough time cracking the Chieftains' defensive unit, and when they did, goalie Derek Grammer was there to close the door.
In the first half, Grammer got his hand barely on a free kick that was heading towards the top right corner and directed the ball enough to clang off the crossbar.
“I saw the ball going over and I was like I got to get this ball,” said Grammer.
Grammer also came up with a two more key saves in the second half to keep the Bears off the board.