HARVARD -- On an overcast Friday afternoon at Harvard Park, Bromfield saw its undefeated streak of nine games snapped by the defending Division 3 State Champs, Sutton, 1-0.
"Their defense played well," Bromfield head coach Tom Hill said. "We just need to get our crosses in toward the net. We knew their weakest fullbacks are on the outside. It was on the inside where they stopped us."
Bromfield had trouble from the opening whistle finding an answer for the four-man back-line the Sammies were presenting. The Trojans continued to try and go right up the middle, something they were successful with in their first nine games. However, it was not going to work against a tough, fundamentally sound team like Sutton.
Bromfield had a chance 10 minutes into the match when senior forward Ezra Kraus curled a pass inward toward the goal box. A Trojans' player got a head on it among a sea of white jerseys. Ben L'Ecuyer and Andrew Cullinan were among the Trojans' camped out at the mouth of the goal. But Sutton goalkeeper Gordy Smythe was able to punch the ball out of danger.
Sutton forward Riley Steele continued to push the action in the Bromfield defensive zone. Steele darted into the 18-yard box and let a chip shot fly. But senior goalkeeper Ryan Kennedy leaped into the air, seized the ball and punted it out of danger. The Trojans' defense was stout throughout the match until Sutton finally broke through with about 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Matt Vallaro was fouled 20 yards from goal. He spotted the ball on the far right hash and curled it into traffic. The ball appeared to have deflected off a Bromfield player and in. But, nonetheless, Vallaro was credited with the goal.
"Matt Olejarz was great," Hill said of his junior defender. "He is a great player. Our defense played well. That is a good team. We faced many quality chances. We didn't give them any easy shots. That goal went off us. We could definitely play with those kids. We need to create more chances."
Bromfield attempted to push the tempo in the second half knowing that it still had a chance to equalize. The Trojans' best opportunity came midway through the second half when L'Ecuyer knifed a through ball into Cullinan on the left side of the net.
Cullinan elevated his shot towards the top left corner of the cage. Smythe rose up to make the acrobatic save. Cullinan followed through on his shot and collided with Smythe, who appeared to be okay after being upended.
Smythe was visibly upset that he was taken out on the play, and it appeared that Bromfield would have a bit of a psychological advantage on the veteran keeper.
The Trojans continued to peck away, but misguided crosses continued to plague them. Bromfield's inability to distribute the ball to the wings effectively, ultimately led to its demise.
Bromfield has met the meat of its schedule with games against perennially tough teams like Groton-Dunstable, Maynard and Nashoba remaining.
"We are now playing some better teams so I think we will be more ready for our rematch against them," said Hill. "It's going to happen. "