Coming off a 4-0 win over Brighton Saturday, the East Boston boys' soccer team stepped onto the field Tuesday in high spirits to face Masconomet – the No. 1 team in the state. But the Jets could not keep up with the Chieftains and were blanked, 3-0, in the second round of the MIAA Division 1 North tournament.
The Jets were stunned soon after the whistle blew, as Masconomet senior striker Keyon Olia scored into the high right corner in the first minute.
“I definitely felt challenged,” said East Boston junior defender Ben Lara. “[Masconomet’s] forwards and midfielders ran together and I wasn’t used to so much pressure.”
Realizing just how strong a team it was facing, East Boston stepped it up a notch
and brought the ball to the Chieftains side of the field. The Jets got off four impressive shots, but were all blocked by junior goalkeeper William Stewart.
Masconomet junior striker Edison Forbes scored toward the end of the first half, bringing the score to 2-0 at halftime.
In the second half, East Boston worked hard to move the ball up the field and get on the scoreboard. With intense pressure from Masconomet not letting up, the Jets instead excelled in defense, led by junior defenders Ben Buenorostro and Lara.
With 10 minutes left, it looked as though East Boston would finally make it onto the scoreboard as Lara took a free kick at the 18-yard line. He fired a powerful shot to the upper middle of the goal, but Stewart blocked it.
With eight minutes left, after a crowded fight for the ball in the goal box, Chieftains junior midfielder Adam Grammer scored again.
So the tournament ends with a 3-0 loss for East Boston, but the Jets are proud of their season and the fact that they made it to the second round.
“It was nice to pass the first round,” Lara said. “It was my first time and everyone else’s. We haven’t made it this far in six years.”
While coach Lorenzo Di Benedetto was disappointed by the Jets’ performance against the Chieftains, he is happy with the success of the season.
“We didn’t perform as well as I thought we would,” he said, “but this was a really good season, especially because we replaced 10 seniors from last year. We’ve had a great run and they’re just great kids.”
Di Benedetto said he will lose nine seniors next year, and that the team will most likely be led by underclassmen.
“We’ve had this program for two years and everybody just gets stronger,” he said. “Brighton, Dorchester, Boston International – we all keep moving ahead. It could be anybody's game and it keeps everybody on their toes.”
Masconomet will proceed to the semifinals against St. John’s Prep at Manning Field in Lynn at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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