TEWKSBURY – After getting shut out in its first two games, both 2-0 defeats to Haverhill and Billerica, the Tewksbury Memorial High School Boys' Soccer team hosted Danvers on Saturday morning with the hopes of not only coming away with the team's first win of the season, but also finding the back of the net for the first time, ending the 160-minute streak to open the season.
The second wish came true, not once, not twice but three times, but on the other side of that Danvers found the back of the net four times, led by three by Marcelo Coixeta, as the Falcons came away with a wild 4-3 non-league victory over the Redmen in a non-league game played at the Ed Dick Memorial Turf Field complex.
“It wasn't the result (that we wanted) but I'm proud of them,” said first-year head coach Mario Almeida, who is still awaiting to win his first game behind the bench. “I think each game we are growing, but today, we can't be down 2-0. That's the key to the whole puzzle. If we were up 2-0, everything is totally different.
“It's been a challenge for us to score goals and today we scored three. We haven't been able to score in the first two games, so scoring (three) is a positive (step). I'm happy and proud and think these guys are getting better and better. Even the last game we played against Billerica we were down 2-0 in the first half and held them off in the second half.”
Danvers had that 2-0 lead, the second goal coming in the 26th minute of the first half but the Redmen didn't fall apart. Instead they went to their senior captain Eric Impink, who will be a dangerous weapon for the team all season with his ability to chuck the ball a long way on throw-ins. This time his throw went to the left of the Danvers' goalie to the back post and Brady Chapman was there to put home the loose ball to cut the deficit in half at 2-1, coming with 12:45 left in the half, coming just 1:41 after the Falcons' second goal.
“We had a film session and I said that we could get two easy goals by just (Impink's) throws. It's almost like a cornerkick but from the sideline,” said Almeida.
Neither team scored over the next seven minutes, before they exchanged tallies in a 1:39 span. Coixeta made it 3-1 before Evan Mendonca stole the ball from a defender and sent the ball to the back of the net to make it 3-2, which stood at the halftime break.
The score remained 3-2 early in the second half thanks to a huge save by Tewksbury goalie Ryan Melo. Even though the score indicates that he gave up four goals, he was sensational making a number of big hand saves on intight shots.
“(Melo) really did play well. He did the same thing in the Billerica game. You can tell that he's getting better and better. I had a former player of mine who volunteered his time and worked with Ryan. He made some tremendous saves today and he did the same thing against Billerica,” said Almeida.
His early save helped give Tewksbury some momentum as several minutes later, Chapman scored his second goal of the game, airing one from about 30 yards out to the far right corner, with the assist going to freshman Sal Catanzano.
The score remained tied and Danvers could have easily gone head but Melo made a huge save with 16 minutes left on Coixeta, who broke behind the defense.
Coixeta did get the game winner coming with ten minutes left, putting in his own rebound after Melo came up with a terrific hand save on the first shot.
Tewksbury didn't get much going offensively in the final eight minutes, and Melo made one more giant save coming real late.
“Today we had some opportunities (to score other goals),” said Almeida. “We made a few mistakes and that's just life and it's also part of having a new coach and a new system of doing things. We're also young – we have a lot of young players. To me, a lot of it is just small details of the game of soccer that they are lacking a little bit like where to be on certain plays, how to cover and mark players and even their defensive shape I think we are a little bit off. The position, where do you need to be when you are marking someone (need to improve). You don't want your player to be on your outside, you want them to be on your inside shoulder, so it's little things like that.
“I also think it's fatigue – that last goal was fatigue and we were also without our starting center defensive back, who is out hurt. Those are obstacles and things that we have to overcome.”
Tewksbury faced Dracut on Tuesday and Wilmington on Wednesday and both results were not known before presstime. Next Tuesday night, the Redmen will host North Andover at 7:15 pm at Doucette Field.
After starting out 0-2, including a 1-0 heartbreaking loss to Andover back on September 7th and then a 3-1 loss to North Andover in a game delayed 90 minutes as the visiting team had transportation issues, the Tewksbury Memorial High School girls’ soccer team got into the left hand column with a 2-0 win over Haverhill played on Tuesday evening.
“The first half was slow. The second half we came out as a team, the team I knew we were,” said coach Samantha Tavantzis. “The team chemistry was phenomenal and everyone on the field put in 100 percent effort in the second half.”
Gabby Diaz and Daniela Almeida scored the goals, while keeper Kassidy MacDonald earned the shut out with five saves.
“Riley Sheehan had a standout game as an outside (midfielder). She works so hard. She played the full 80 minutes. Daniela and Gabby played great together as the center-midfielders. Outside back Ashlyn Nawn was tough and aggressive on the left side. The left side of the field was strong.
“I think if we played as hard as we did in the second half, it would have been a totally different game. I’m very proud of the girls and it’s the best they have played so far. I look forward to the rest of the season and if we play the way we did today, we will have great success the rest of the way.”
Tewksbury is on the road for three straight games with stops at Lawrence on Thursday, Wilmington on Monday and Methuen on Tuesday - all three games are scheduled to start at 4 pm.
FIELD HOCKEY OMISSION
In last week's Field Hockey Preview, senior Lauren Connors was not mentioned. She is one of the three senior captains along with Mia Gaglione and Aliana Kennen. The Town Crier regrets the omission.