WILMINGTON — Back on October 12th, the Wilmington High School boys' soccer team lost its first game of the shortened season to Wakefield, which came after sweeping a home-and-home series against Burlington.
Due to several different incidents, the 'Cats then went on a break from games for the next 30 days. First it as a two-week quarantine break after a Wakefield player tested positive for COVID-19 , followed by another two week break when all of WHS Athletics were suspended due to the out-of-school house party.
On Tuesday, the team had a brief workout together, before taking on Watertown in another home-and-home series, first at their place Wednesday night and then at Alumni Field on Thursday afternoon. The first game was a terrific, back-and-forth battle with the 'Cats scoring a late goal and the teams ended in a 2-2 tie. At home, Watertown was up 1-0 before scoring two goals in the final minute to come away with the 3-0 win.
“It's a tough situation for our guys, but to be honest, I'm proud of our guys with the way they have played the last couple of days,” said WHS coach Steve Scanlon. “You really have the deck stacked against you when you can't workout for twenty days, then you have a small workout on Tuesday and then you have to play back-to-back days against a team that has been playing.”
Wilmington put two shots on net in the first half and also missed the net on a few other chances. In the second half, down 1-0, the 'Cats had a pair of other strong opportunities with Jason Berube's direct kick from 30 yards out and Aiden McGrath off a corner kick (tap pass to him), who raced back to the middle of the field, before turning on his defender and sending a hard shot to the midsection of the keeper.
“I thought tonight was a real good game for both teams. We had our (scoring) chances both early and late (in the game). We didn't make the best decisions with the ball late in the game, but overall it was a good game and Watertown is always a talented bunch.,” said Scanlon.
In Wednesday's tie, keeper Justin Healey made six saves including several gems. He saw his teammates score twice, including the second one in dramatic fashion.
“We played good, especially for the first time out,” said Scanlon. “We played good skilled team even. We rallied late and got the tieing goal with like two minutes left. We went to three strikers when we were down 2-1 and our football player (Stephen Smolinsky) deflected one. Owen Surette scored the first one and Aidan McGrath assisted on both goals. It was a real good game.”
That loss, as well as a 2-0 loss on Saturday to Melrose, put Wilmington at 2-3-1 on the season. The team will wrap up the season on Saturday with a road trip to Melrose.