LYNN – The Clippers took the wind out of Watertown’s sails with a goal just a minute into the MIAA Div. 3 boys soccer State Semifinal, added a second a few minutes later allowing Norwell to hold on for the 2-0 win at Manning Field.
The Raiders finish their season on a run deeper than they have been since 2013, when the team also made the final four in the state. Watertown boys soccer coach Frank Cacia said it was an uphill battle after falling behind the South Section champs.
“To come out flat, give up a goal then another goal. the second goal, it was unfortunate,” Cacia said.
The first goal came off a corner and Norwell senior Matt Cawthorne headed the ball into the net off a pass from senior Josh Toomey.
Fifteen minutes later, the Clippers converted a free kick about 30 yards out from the goal. The ball hung in the air and dipped into the upper right corner.
“It floated over the top of my goalie, he misjudged I guess,” Cacia said.
Watertown tried to battle back and put pressure on the Norwell’s senior goalie, Cal Stoddard. In the first half he had to save a shot heading into the top left corner of the net.
The Raiders’ efforts were not helped by the fact that their top point scorer was hobbled. Senior Mehmet Yagcioglu scored the game winner against Melrose in the North Section Final, and had 12 goals and 18 assists, Cacia said. Before the game he tweaked his hamstring during warmups.
“He tried to grind it out,” Cacia said. “It’s one of those decisions. He’s your leading point scorer, do you put him in the game and leave him in or do you put someone in who is 100 percent?”
In the second half the Raiders began to control play and put pressure on the Clippers net time after time, even hitting the post with 24 minutes left in the second half.
“It was frustrating,” Cacia said. “We wanted to get that one goal, cut the lead in half, and try to gain momentum that way. But they held on defensively.”
The Raiders finish the season with a record of 16-7-1 and a North Section title. Cacia said he thought his team had great potential.
“I thought we could make a great run if we got healthy towards the end,” Cacia said. “We had a very talented team. We play a good brand of soccer – we try to keep the ball.”
Watertown started 3 or 4 seniors this year, so it will have a talented group coming back in 2018, Cacia said, but they will have some big holes to fill.