The Medford boys' soccer teamrode the back of their star forward John Dumbuya as he netted the overtime game-winner for a 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten Lincoln-Sudbury in a Division 1 North quarterfinal gem Wednesday in Sudbury.
Both teams leaned heavily on each other out of the gate in an effort to jockey for momentum, with the Warriors (16-1-2) gaining an early edge that led to Medford coach Michael Petrides calling a timeout just seven minutes in.
"It was a hard fought game," said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Dave Hosford. "Both teams are skilled and both teams have a physical attitude about them."
Following the timeout, the Mustangs put their own physical stamp on things and just 11 minutes later Dumbuya put Medford (13-4-1) on the board first after collecting the ball in the box and juking numerous defenders before letting go with a rocket shot that curved past the reach of Warriors keeper Tyler McCarthy.
"I try to put it in the other side from where I am on the field," said Dumbuya "I shoot with power and accuracy and I practice it everyday with my coach and it pays off in the game."
Timely bounces and defensive stops kept the Mustangs on top 1-0 through halftime, as the Warriors could not buy a break despite numerous direct chances in the box.
"Lincoln-Sudbury is an unbelievable team," Petrides said. "I've been telling the kids the whole year, "You're going to have to play somebody good eventually, and it doesn't matter if you play them early or late."
As the Warriors launched a corner kick at the 17-minute mark of the second half, Medford was whistled for an illegal push to the back in the box, setting up Forest Sisk 12-yards away for a penalty kick that he calmly slipped to his left to tie the game 1-1.
Lincoln-Sudbury wrestled momentum back after the goal, but Medford continued to fight and both teams tightened the reigns defensively, leaving the score tied at one as regulation expired.
With just under five minutes remaining in overtime, Dumbuya controlled possesion on the left side, just past midfield, and put on another dribbling clinic as he crossed over three defenders.
Coming clear on the right side of the field, he reared back and launched a 35-yard shot towards the goal that bent into the back of the net, sparking an emphatic celebration as the Mustangs chased down Dumbuya and launched themselves onto their leader.
"It took a perfect shot to beat us," Hosford said. "That was certainly the perfect shot."
When asked about the game-winner, an emotional Dumbuya replied, "Thank you God."
Petrides added, "It's a great win for Medford High School."
The Mustangs will face Masconomet in a Division 1 North semifinal game 10 a.m. Friday at Manning Field in Lynn.
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