-Submitted on behalf of the BHS Boys Varsity Soccer Team
Bedford topped the Canton Bulldogs, 2-0, on Thursday night at Sabourin Field to advance to the “Elite Eight” in the MIAA Division 2 soccer tournament.
The Bucs started fast, taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. After a Bucs throw in, the ball came free in front of the Bulldog net, and Austin Cullis knocked it home to give the Bucs the early advantage. Bedford continued to pressure the Canton defense, generating a corner kick in the ninth minute.
In the 16th minute, Sean Morrison made a tremendous tackle to stop a Canton opportunity to preserve the one goal lead.
The teams traded some offensive chances over the next 10 minutes as the play was relatively even, but neither team could convert. Canton played solid, physical defense, bodying up Bedford players in an attempt to win possession. The Bucs were undeterred, generating more threats in the Bulldog zone and largely controlling the first half, which ended 1-0.
The second half was more of the same. Canton’s best chance came in the 45th minute as goalie Ansh Aggarwal made a save, which was followed by a great defensive play by Max Mezheritskiy. The Bucs eventually cleared the ball and generated an opportunity a minute later, but Canton’s defense was up to the task, making solid plays to stay within striking distance.
In the 63rd minute, the Bucs easily cleared two consecutive corners by Canton. Bedford took control of the game minutes later with heavy pressure in the 66th minute that led to a corner. Eshan Pandey played the corner in, but the Bucs couldn’t finish it. However, Spencer Goss kept the play alive, making a pass out to Pandey who then played a beautiful cross to Morrison, and he headed it in for a 2-0 lead.
A Bulldogs’ timeout in the 67th minute was to no avail as the Bucs continued to generate offensive pressure and possess the ball. Canton’s last effort in the 69th minute was turned away by Aggarwal, and the Bucs closed out the win with solid passing and ball control.
The strong defensive effort was again led by Morrison, Luca Melfi, and Mezheritskiy. Sawyer Elliott also made key defensive contributions. Midfielders Miles Herzog and Tomas Ou made solid tackles in the midfield that prevented Canton from gaining any advantage. Wingers Anirudh Kumar, Shae Arsenault, and Cullis applied heavy pressure to the Canton defensive wings, generating turnovers and enabling the Bucs to control the game. Aggarwal finished with his tenth clean sheet of the season.
Third seeded Bedford plays at home again on Saturday, Nov. 12 vs. sixth seeded Melrose (12-4-2) at 2 p.m. at Sabourin Field. The winner advances to the Division 2 state semifinals next week. The winner of semifinals will play in the finals on Saturday, Nov. 19.