by Ed Niser
The Groton-Dunstable boys' soccer team found themslves in familiar territory last night when they faced the Belchertown Orioles in a State Semifinals rematch from a year ago. The final tally was the same score that advanced the Crusaders just one year ago, 1-0. Nate Pomeroy connected on a cross off the volley from Morgan Manthous. Pomeroy rippled the twine in the 27th minute of the semifinals match at Westfield State University.
Next stop, Worcester State for the chance to engrave their name on the Massachusetts State Championship trophy yet again. Who the Crusaders will face on Saturday has yet to be determined. Medway plays North Andover at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Braintree High School to determine who will represent Eastern Mass. in the finals.
Belchertown completed their 2012 season with an impressive 21-1 record. The Orioles had their chances in the second half, but senior Crusader goalkeeper Connor Maguire held his ground between the pipes making 10 saves.
Groton-Dunstable out shot Belchertown 12-10 in the match. The Orioles put a good deal of pressure on the Crusaders' back-line but they were able to weather the storm. Maguire had some prime-time saves in the match that sealed Groton-Dunstable's championship game berth.
Breaking down the Crusaders potential opponents:
Medway- (18-3-1)- League: Tri-Valley
In the Division 2 South District title match the Mustangs defeated Medford in dramatic penalty kick fashion. Medford is out of the Tri-Valley league, and pending the outcome of tonight's State semifinals match has a record of 18-3-1. Medway senior captain Dan Messina hammered home the game winner to dispatch Medford 1-0 in the shootout. Justin Kaplan leads the Mustangs in total points with 16. Kaplan has 11 goals and five assists. Matt Coakley has 12-goals this season and is the Mustang's leading scorer.
North Andover (18-2-2) League: Merrimack Valley Small
The Scarlet Knights are led by their legendary head coach of 22-years Bill Tarbox, who announced his retirement at the start of the 2012 season. North Andover powered past North Div. 2 District tournament staple Concord-Carlisle to play Medway tonight. The Scarlet Hawks captured their first District crown since 1999. Mike Skarbells headed home the game winner in the 36th minute of their 4-1 win over the Patriots.
Saturday kickoff time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Tom Coughlin Memorial Field on the campus of Worcester State University. Nashoba Publishing will be there providing live updates via Twitter @EdNiser.