Boston High School: Mike Keating

Recap: Groton-Dunstable 2, Shrewsbury 1

February, 13, 2013
GROTON, Mass. -- Do not call Groton-Dunstable a finesse team. If you do, they might take offense to it.

The Crusaders would prefer you categorized them as ruthless and nasty -- a team not afraid to knock heads or sacrifice their bodies to block shots. Wednesday night, they did a little of both.

In a match up between two of the top Division 3 programs in Central Mass., the Crusaders held off Shrewsbury, 2-1, in a non-conference tilt at the Groton School Rink. In a game that went full-throttle from start to finish, Groton-Dunstable forward C. J. Kenny’s goal at 1:06 of the third period proved to be the difference. The Crusaders clamped down on the Colonials for the remainder of the period, improving their overall record to 15-1-3.

Kenny, a senior, scored the game-winner after he was able to gain control of a loose puck in front of the Shrewsbury crease and knock it past goaltender Shane Gorrie. While scoring chances were limited for both teams, it was the Crusaders defensive output that stole the show.

Groton-Dunstable's strategy in slowing an opposing foe is by applying constant pressure on anyone handling the puck. This also includes the Crusader forwards, who are expected to assist the defensemen on any rush up the ice.

Shrewsbury’s top line of Dave Belbin, Dan Quinlivan and Jack Quinlivan were all held in check throughout the evening as they failed to register a point for the first time this season. Anytime the puck was on their collective sticks, so too, was a Crusader to disrupt their lane to the net.

“Our forwards did a great job getting back, helping us and not giving them any time or space,” senior defenseman Mike Keating said. “When they don’t have time or space we can step up and get into their grill and then they can’t get shots.”

With the possibility of these two teams meeting again in the postseason, Shrewsbury realizes it needs to find a way to break free in order to set up better scoring chances or else a similar outcome might occur.

“They took a lot of time and space away from us because of their big size and reach,” said Colonials coach Steve Turnblom whose team dropped to 11-4-1. “They also did a great job in their own end blocking shots and taking areas away for our guys to shoot. They’ll be a handful for teams facing them in the playoffs. We just need to adapt to their style and be hungrier the next time.”

Almost two periods had passed before a goal was scored. With his team on the power play, Allan Haynes, a senior defenseman, put Groton-Dunstable on the board first with a shot just outside the crease at 12:19 of the second period.

But with just 50 seconds remaining in the period, the Colonials got even. Freshman Matt Dillon, standing inside the right circle, roped a shot through traffic that Crusader goalie Jason Robes never saw making it 1-1.

In the locker room during the second intermission, Turnblom preached to his club the importance of getting the next goal. Unfortunately, the Colonials failed in that quest. Instead it was Kenny who breathed new life into the Crusaders with his early final period score. For the remainder of the period, Groton-Dunstable, in its first season as a Division 3 program after winning a Division 3A state title a year ago, stepped it up on the defensive side as they continued to frustrate the Colonials any time they moved the puck over the center line.

“These are the type of games we’re going to see once we get into the tournament,” Groton-Dunstable first-year coach Phil Rowley said. “I think this was one of the hardest games our kids have played in all year if not the hardest. Our captains held a team meeting [on Tuesday] and talked about bringing the intensity level up and they brought it into this game. The senior leadership we have on this team is unbelievable.”

D2 boys soccer: G-D 2, Medway 0

November, 17, 2012

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Nate Pomeroy’s seventh and eighth goals of the postseason helped fire the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders to their second straight MIAA Division 2 boys’ soccer state title. The Crusaders beat South sectional champions Medway 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at Worcester State University’s Coughlin Field.

After sending two shots narrowly wide from the edge of the box, Pomeroy opened the scoring from the unlikeliest of positions.
The senior forward drove at the Medway defense and took the ball all the way to the end line before sending in a shot across the face of goal. Somehow, despite having no angle, the ball snuck past Mustangs keeper Brian Kokoszka.

In the 57th minute, Pomeroy struck again. Mike Keating played a long free kick across the box and Pomeroy was on hand to power a header into the roof of the net and make the score line more comfortable for the Central champions.

Groton-Dunstable coach Sean Wisbey spoke after the game about the contributions of his star player and the need for Pomeroy to step up and replace the production lost from last year’s squad.

“This was Nate’s time to shine," Wisbey said. "I told him, ‘This is going to be your moment to lead us.’ And, you know what, he comes out and scores two big goals for us.”

Pomeroy was also part of last season’s state champions, but was unable to get on the scoreboard against Concord-Carlisle. According to the future Brown Bear, he saw much more of the ball this time around.

“It was good that we were able to get the balls to me this game," he said. "I didn’t feel as much pressure as I did last season. I didn’t feel as much pressure with the man-to-man marking, which gave me more space.”

Pomeroy talked through scoring the first goal from a seemingly impossible angle, “I kind of just put it across to see what would happen and it deflected off the keeper’s leg and it went in. It was great to get the momentum, I think it probably shocked them and put them back on their heels.”

Medway (19-4-1) had several early opportunities stopped by Crusaders keeper Connor Maguire. The best chance fell to junior striker Justin Kaplan on the far post for a cross but his volley was blocked by a scrambling Maguire.

Sophomore Brendan Robinson also had a shot blocked on the line by Groton-Dunstable defender Adam Kmetz.

Mustangs head coach Jeff Hallenbeck admitted after the game that if Medway scored those early games, it could have shifted the momentum.

“If we’d have gotten those breaks we would have settled down probably a little bit more, and it would have been an entirely different game,” he said.

Medway was notably without striker Matt Coakley, which forced freshman Jacob Warren to start up front, but also had injuries in the midfield that affected the team. Junior midfielder Aidan Burke and sophomore Adem Karacaoglu were not able to play and they left a big hole in the center of the park.

“Matt’s loss impacted us greatly," Hallenbeck said. "He was a huge loss, but our biggest loss was Aidan Burke. When he went down it depletes our midfield core then we lost another one last game (Karacaoglu) so now we’re down two central midfielders and it was too much for us tonight.”

The Crusaders controlled the second half and limited Medway to long-range shooting and set piece chances. In fact the best two chances of the half fell to the Mustangs, but neither was on target.

Wisbey raved about his experienced defense, in particular center back Mike Keating, and its ability to shut down the Mustangs.

“I brought back three of my starting backs from last year’s state championship team," Wisbey said. "I put him (Keating) back there about four games into the season. Since I put him back there, we have been 17-0-3 in the last 20. They don’t give you a lot of opportunities.”

Having gone through a championship run last season, Wisbey and his team understood the pressure of the state finals and it enabled them to be more relaxed than they had been in 2011.

“Realistically we went into this game with no stress tonight," he said. "We had gone through this journey where last year we were the nervous team. This year we weren’t nervous at all. Win or lose, this is a celebration of all that these kids have done.”

Recap: No. 2 G-D 1, No. 8 Algonquin 1

September, 12, 2012
NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tuesday's cross division Mid-Wach matchup between No. 2 Groton-Dunstable and No. 8 Algonquin served as an early season guage for both teams.

Yet, neither of the Central Mass. power were able to gain a foothold in action as the teams settled for a 1-1 draw.

Algonquin midfielder Connor Henry opened scoring in the 32nd minute with a strike off a free kick. The Tomahawks (0-0-1) held onto the lead behind goalkeeper Liam McCarthy until the second half, in the 52nd minute when G-D's Mike Keating struck from inside the box.

Here are a couple observations from match:

Ken Morin's Tomahawk side had to wait until Tuesday to kick off their season. Their season opened in earnest against the reigning Division 2 state champion Crusaders.

With a young returning squad, Morin's goal was simply to get back on the pitch.

"They've been waiting for this game for three weeks now. There's no substitute for the real thing and it was great for them to get back out there."

It's been a tough start to the season for G-D which opened with No. 12 Worcester North (a 5-3 win) before Tuesday's match. The Crusaders are also playing without their starting goalkeeper and right back, but G-D showed a robust defense against the Tomahawks.

Keeper John Nyilis has filled in for the first two matches and showed good instincts against Algonquin, making a couple key stops in addition to breaking up several chances with his play in the second half.

The other notable absence has been the zero in the goals column next to striker Nate Pomeroy's name. The Brown commit hasn't found the back of the net yet, but that's no neccessarily a bad thing.

"We're getting scoring from a bunch of players," G-D head coach Sean Wisbey said. "Obviously, Nate [Pomeroy] is a marked player and defense are paying a lot of attention to him, but he'll get his goals, too."

G-D also pushed the offensive pace in the second half of Tuesday's matchup, going with a 3-3-4 out of the half.

"We were getting bottled up in the middle, so I told the guys at halftime to start looking to the wings and try to spread them out," Wisbey.

Eventually, the Crusaders found the equalizer and escaped with the point.

G-D will play Nashoba Thursday before wrapping up its home-and-home series with Worcester North on Saturday.