TEWKSBURY – Less than 24 hours after winning their first game of the season, a 5-1 decision over Dracut back on Tuesday, the 14th, the Tewksbury Memorial High School boys' soccer team was hoping to keep that momentum going when Wilmington came to town for an afternoon non-league game last Wednesday.
On a very humid day, the Redmen stormed out to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Mario Ruiz and Michael Gaglione, but the pesky 'Cats got two back in the second half by Ryan Willson and Anay Gandhi, the second coming with under two minutes to play and the teams ended at 2-2.
“In the second half, we had one defensive breakdown which led them to tie the game up late,” said first-year head coach Mario Almeida. “Once again we had a bunch of chances to score, especially in the first half but we couldn't finish. We're trying different line-ups, we're trying different people at the striker position, we're trying to put three forwards up top and we're trying to be creative in a way that we can score more but it just hasn't worked out. We just have to move forward, forgot about the past. We can only control our future.”
Tewksbury then had the next six days off until hosting perennial league and state power North Andover on Tuesday night at Doucette Field. The Redmen were behind early in the game and could never catch up, eventually losing 5-1 to fall to 1-4-1 on the season.
“We had a couple of breakdowns on defense so it comes down to they finished (their scoring chances) and we didn't. We were down 3-0 and then 4-0 and then from there you scramble. We didn't do much (offensively). We scored one goal in the second half to make it 4-1 (before they added one more). We now have to change things to be more aggressive on the attacking side so we can create more. We had opportunities and if we finished those chances, maybe it's a 4-2 or even a 4-3 result but things just didn't fall through like we wanted.”
North Andover had a 4-0 lead before Evan Mendonca found the back of the net, and then the Knights added another to seal it.
“They are a strong team. They are well organized and you can tell that a lot of these players really know the game and that's the key component of everything, having that soccer-IQ. We just don't have that same soccer-IQ and we make these mistakes which cost us. We put effort out there to try to turns things around, but being down two, three or four to nothing, it just becomes an near impossible situation.
“The kids are working hard and we're hoping that the results will come. As a coach you want results, it's the way you do it so I want results as a coach is basically graded by that. I think the kids are getting better, but we're just having some defensive breakdown mistakes and we're not finishing at the final third (of the field) which is putting us in the hole.”