North Middlesex goalkeeper Chase Pollina (middle) is mobbed by teammates after recording a 14-save shutout performance in the Patriots’ season
North Middlesex goalkeeper Chase Pollina (middle) is mobbed by teammates after recording a 14-save shutout performance in the Patriots' season opening win at Tyngsboro. (Nashoba Publishing/Ed Niser)

TYNGSBORO -- North Middlesex forward Paul Robarge sent the North Middlesex bench into a frenzy in the 59th minute with his whirling goal from 24-yards out that snuck inside the left post and bounced out in for the eventual game-winner.

Joe O'Neil sealed the deal for the Patriots with a goal late in the second half to lock up a 2-nil victory over Tyngsboro in the season opener for both teams.

North Middlesex head coach Jeff Waldron comes to the North Middlesex varsity sidelines following the retirement of longtime head coach Pen Burnham. Waldron was the junior varsity coach last season. Waldron was all smiles following the win.

"Let the ride begin," Waldron said, " Getting that first win is huge for us. We have Oakmont on Friday at home. I would love to make it two in a row."

North Middlesex knew it was going to be in for a dog fight against a Tyngsboro team that finished the 2013 season at 12-7-1.

"I told the guys before the game that Tyngsboro was going to come out jacked up," Waldron said. "We weathered the storm early and shutdown their adrenaline fueled attack. Robarge is getting used to getting hit and finishing. He is getting better in all aspects of the game."

Mackinnley Hammill placed a well timed cross to senior striker Leo LeClair. LeClair dribbled a few steps and released a winding shot that sailed over the cross back. Later in the half, Hammill tapped the ball over to Robarge, who blasted the ball from outside the 18-yard box, but it soared wide left.


Advertisement

Tiger midfielder Benjamin Schade blasted a shot from inside the 18-yard box, but North Middlesex goalkeeper Chase Pollina batted the ball away.

Joseph Leavis secured the rebound and fired, but Pollina rose to the occasion again with a big save midway through the half.

Tyngsboro put the pressure on Pollina early-and-often in the second half.

Tiger midfielder Christian Casey blasted a wicked shot at Pollina in the 33rd minute, but the North Middlesex keeper snatched the ball out of the air.

North Middlesex forward Mackinnley Hammill battles for control of the ball with Tyngsboro defender Stephen Kordash.
North Middlesex forward Mackinnley Hammill battles for control of the ball with Tyngsboro defender Stephen Kordash. (Nashoba Publishing/Ed Niser)

Pollina stopped all 14 shots he faced to secure his first shutout of the season.

"Chase had a phenomenal game," Waldron said. "He came up big for us with some key saves. Chase is an extremely confident kid and he is extremely talented. Once we knew that we were coming out of the first half unscathed that we had a good chance to win this game."

Robarge's sniper shot from 24-yards out in the 59th minute set the tempo for the remainder of the game. The North Middlesex bench breathed a collective sigh of relief and the Patriots seized control of the momentum.

"I told all of my offensive players at the half if they have a chance to put a shot on net to go ahead and do it," Waldron said. "We let the Tyngsboro keeper know that the offense was coming. We used the speed dribble to keep the ball on the turf. We were able to just light the lamp at the right time."

Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout:@EdNiser