-Submitted on behalf of the BHS Boys Varsity Soccer Team
The Bedford Bucs advanced to the Final Four in the MIAA Division 2 soccer tournament with a 1-0 win over the Melrose Red Hawks at Sabourin Field Saturday afternoon. The visiting Red Hawks brought many supporters, but the Bedford faithful turned out in large numbers, and both sides were treated to well-played playoff soccer on a beautiful day in Bedford.
The first ten minutes of the match were evenly played as both sides possessed the ball, but neither had a major threat. Thomas Ou’s shot at 9 minutes was saved by the Melrose goalie, and then both teams took turns advancing the ball into the others’ zone, without getting off a decent shot. Bedford could not convert on corner kicks at 19 and 28 minutes. Melrose, looking to settle down, took a time out in the 29th minute. The timeout seemed to inspire the Red Hawks as they started to control the ball and attack the Bedford zone. The Bucs backline of Sean Morrison, Luca Melfi, Sawyer Elliott, Max Mezheritskiy, and Jake Bowman stood tall, forcing the Red Hawks into tough shots. Goalie Ansh Aggarwal saved everything that came his way, which was not much thanks to the back line. The game was scoreless at the half.
The second half started similar to the first, with each team possessing, but not taking control of the game. The Bucs turned away a Red Hawks corner kick in the 56th minute. Morrison made a tremendous defensive play in the 63rd minute, hustling back to catch his opponent, and knock the ball out of bounds to stop a Melrose run. A minute later, Ou drilled a shot top shelf that the Red Hawks goalie saved by a fingertip, leading to a Bucs corner, which Bedford could not convert.
Bedford started to take control of the game, possessing and advancing the ball. After stopping a Melrose corner in the 70th minute, the Bucs moved the ball upfield. Spencer Goss took a pass, made an outstanding turn, and rifled a shot that was barely saved by the goalie. The ball went out of bounds leading to another Bucs corner kick. Devan Kaushik played a great bending corner to Elliott, who headed the ball into the back of the net to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute.
Bedford was able to maintain possession for most of the remaining time to close out the victory. Austin Cullis, Anirudh Kumar, and Owen Savage played well on the wings, while Ou and Miles Herzog continued their exceptionally strong play in the midfield. The Vince went to Elliott for his goal and outstanding defensive effort throughout the game. Aggarwal and the Bucs defense pitched their third straight playoff shutout, and eleventh overall on the season.
Reflecting on the season to date, Bedford coach Dave Boschetto said preparation has been the key. In addition to the talented and hard working players, “I also want to recognize the incredible effort and commitment of coach Wilson and especially Coach Olson, who scouted Melrose extensively and helped prepare game plans all year. It’s an embarrassment of riches to have such talented and hard working coaches as assistants. I feel like a big part of our success as the year has gone on has been our level of preparation and they are a huge part of that.”
Bedford will play the winner of the Hopkinton-Wayland quarterfinal match. [Update 11/13: The next game will be Tuesday, Nov 15 vs Hopkinton at Doyle Field in Leominster at 7pm]