BOLTON -- The Bromfield Trojans have had a miraculous season thus far, posting a 14-1 record coming into Thursday afternoon's clash at Nashoba.
For the first 40 minutes, it appeared that Bromfield was content with a 0-0 draw, having already punched its district tournament ticket.
It wasn't until Trojans' head coach Tom Hill challenged his team to respond late in the match that the team's offense started to show new life.
"I think we went in not thinking it was going to be a tough game because it's their subs," Hill said after the win. "He played mostly subs and JV players. That's not a very good performance on our part, both offensively and defensively."
Seniors Ezra Kraus, Ben L'Ecuyer and Andrew Cullinan all overcame a sluggish start to help propel their team to a 3-0 victory over the host Chieftains. Kraus scored two goals in a span of 40 seconds late in the match.
Nashoba had already secured its berth in the postseason before Thursday's match, which prompted its head coach, Jim McKinley, to play his reserves. McKinley's reserves held the Bromfield team in check for much of the match. Bromfield carried the play for much of the first half, but it failed to take many high-percentage shots at net. The Trojans' first quality chance of the afternoon did not come until the 20th minute, when Kraus blasted the ball in from 24 yards.
The swirling wind, which was howling from left-to-right, knuckled the ball wide right of the cage.
Nashoba had a pair of high-percentage chances late in the half from junior midfielder Ryan Connerty. Connerty struck a winding shot that sailed at the left post. Bromfield senior goalkeeper Ryan Kennedy dove and smothered the shot in the 28th minute. Four minutes later, it was Connerty again with a blast from the right flank, but Kennedy was able to jump straight up to make the save.
In the final minute of the half, L'Ecuyer wrapped a shot inside the left post, but the goal was waved off by the line official because he was off-sides.
Both sides went into the intermission scoreless, but Bromfield emerged as the aggressor in the later stages of the match.
In the second half, Bromfield was kicking into the wind, which proved to be a difficult task for the veteran Trojans' strikers.
But, in the 31st minute, L'Ecuyer broke through with a through-ball from Cullinan. Cullinan gathered the ball on the right wing nearest the Bromfield bench and he threaded the needle to L'Ecuyer. It was a bang-bang play. L'Ecuyer guided his shot low left with just enough pace to put Bromfield out in front, 1-0.
Three minutes later, Kraus scored an unassisted highlight-reel-quality goal. Kraus dipped between four Nashoba defenders before gently guiding the ball past the Nashoba keeper to make it 2-0. Thirty-seconds later, Kraus cashed in on a cross from L'Ecuyer again to make it 3-0.
"I think we will be up against a good team," Hill said. "Our defense has been pretty well this season, but we really haven't been tested."