Repeat feat for Ludlow
WORCESTER - The Ludlow boys’ soccer team added another notch to its dynasty, beating Masconomet, 2-1, at Coughlin Field for the Lions’ second straight Division 1 state championship.
Kyle Tomas scored two second-half goals to lead Ludlow to its third state title in four years and 17th overall.
Ludlow controlled play in the first half but was unable to penetrate the Chieftains’ back three, which continuously cleared the box of threats. Masco finally got things going with 15 minutes remaining in the half but couldn’t quite break through.
The Chieftains came up with several scoring chances, but Ludlow keeper Nick Zucco stopped three separate shots to keep the game scoreless at the half.
“We had to have a big turnaround at halftime,’’ said Ludlow coach Greg Kolodziey. “We had to step up our game and be a little bit sharper and come out with a little more energy and intensity.’’
It did not look good early for Ludlow (17-2-4) as eight minutes into the second half the Chieftains struck paydirt when Chad Burke launched a free kick from 45 yards toward the right post. Before Zucco could leap to gain possession, Chip Sherman launched his body in front of him and flicked the ball in with the back of his head, giving Masco a 1-0 lead.
At the 20-minute mark the Lions got the equalizer off a booming kick from Tomas from 35 yards, the shot bending past the diving reach of keeper Derek Grammer.
“When they scored [first] I just used it as motivation and I never gave up,’’ said Tomas. “We just kept pushing and pushing.’’
“We needed a goal to get us going,’’ added Kolodziey.
Tomas, who has had a knack for scoring in big games, would come through again thanks to a beautiful cross on the right side by Jeff Danek. Tomas picked up the cross on the far post and slid it in to give the Lions the lead with six minutes remaining.
“Tonight was big for me, scoring two goals,’’ said Tomas, who also scored the winner in Ludlow’s victory over Worcester North in Tuesday’s Western Mass. final. “It’s an amazing feeling.’’
Then it was just a matter of running out the clock, which Ludlow was capable of doing with long clears that kept Masco (16-4-3) far away from challenging.
“I told these guys all year that this is their time to put their mark on Masco soccer,’’ said coach Dave Mitchell, who took his Chieftains to the final in his first season. “Nothing takes away the sting of this, but I’m really proud of what we’ve done this season.’’