By Michael James LeClair
The Nashoba Regional boys’ soccer team is doing its best to try to keep its head above water.
On Saturday evening the Chieftains welcomed nearby rival Hudson High School to town. Nashoba, in much need of a victory, played with grit and heart and dominated from start to finish en route to a 9-0 thumping over the Hawks under the lights at Nashoba Regional High School.
The victory secured two big points in the standings for the Chieftains. Nashoba improves to 4-6-2 overall with the win while Hudson drops to 0-12-1.
Nashoba now has 10 points on the season with six games to play. The Chieftains need eight points in their final six games to qualify for the Central Mass. Division 1 Tournament.
“It’s been the same concept all year long for us, when we score first we win. Every game we’ve lost we’ve given up the first goal,” said Nashoba head coach Ryan Gates following Saturday’s triumph. “This was a game we really needed and coming in we knew, on paper, we were the better team. We needed to show it on the field.”
Nashoba is fighting for its first postseason berth since the 2013 season. That year, the No.11 Chieftains were bounced in the first round against sixth-seeded Hudson in penalty kicks. The Chieftains finished 2013 with an 8-9-2 overall record.
The victory also snaps a two-game losing streak for the Chieftains, who are fighting to climb back to the .500 mark on the campaign. Nashoba was looking to inch a little closer to a sectional spot when it returned to action this past Tuesday night. That was when the Chieftains hosted the Colonials of Shrewsbury High School.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle, we’re playing some very good teams in front of us. It’s been a weird season in Central Mass; there isn’t one team running away with things,” said Gates on Saturday. “There is no easy wins for us, but if the boys play the way they did against (previous opponent) Marlboro and shoot like we did tonight, I’m confident in our chances.”
As for Saturday’s action, Nashoba seized control early on as it struck for a pair of first half goals in the first four minutes and never looked back.
Nashoba’s Jasper Yang put the hosts on the scoreboard in the fourth minute of play when he beat Hudson goalie Jared Colbert with a blast to make it 1-0.
Yang doubled the lead less than a minute later to make it 2-0.
Nashoba tacked on five more first half goals as the Chieftains enjoyed a 7-0 lead after the first 40 minutes.
In the second half, the hosts didn’t relinquish its lead – in fact, they added to it. Nashoba tacked on two more goals in the second half en route to the final tally.
The Chieftains spread the scoring out on Saturday as seven different players scored goals.
Yang, a senior captain had a standout game with three goals and an assist. Senior Garren LaPlante had a goal and an assist while sophomore John Higgins had two assists. Other Nashoba goal scorers were sophomore Cooper Caviness, junior Evan Medcraft, senior Keenan Doyle, junior Jay Toland and senior Grant Edwards.
Nashoba goalies Matt Cunningham and Michael Perreault were solid in the cage for the Chieftains. Cunningham worked the first half while Perreault manned the net for the final 40 minutes.
Nashoba Girls Add Another to Winning Season, Playoff-bound
In Saturday’s matinee performance, the Nashoba girls’ soccer team used a strong second half to pull away from Hudson as the Chieftains notched a 6-1 victory.
The win improves the girls’ overall record to 8-3-2 and qualifies the Chieftains for the Central Mass. Division 1 Tournament.
“Our girls were coming off a big win against Marlboro, and Hudson is a team with some really good players and we didn’t do a good enough job defending in the first half,” said Nashoba head coach Renee Moulton following the win. “It took us a little while, but the girls came out fired up in the second half and played with the intensity that they’re capable of.”
Nashoba held a slim 2-1 halftime lead before opening the floodgates with four unanswered goals in the second half.
“The team played to their capabilities in the second half,” said Moulton. “We came out and scored three goals in the first five minutes to really take control.”
As for scoring, Nashoba drew first blood during the third minute of action. Katie Piccioli found the back of the net and Taylor Rodriguez assisted.
Hudson answered with the equalizer with 9:25 to play before halftime. However, Nashoba reclaimed the lead with 5:47 left before halftime when Abby McNulty buried the first of her three goals on the day. Alana Carlucci was credited with the assist.
In the second half, Nashoba put the contest out of reach with a dominating 40 minute effort. The Chieftains tallied three goals inside the first five minutes of the stanza to grab a 5-1 advantage.
Nashoba added one more for good measure with 12:37 left to cap the scoring.
Along with McNulty and Piccioli’s offensive efforts, The Chieftains received strong games from Grace Kiernan and Ella Lemieux, both scoring goals on Saturday.
Goalies Jetta Oskirko and Theresa Dawn combined for the win. Oskirko was net for the first half and Dawn was in net for the second half.
Nashoba returned to action on Tuesday against Shrewsbury High School.
Editor’s Note: Tuesday’s scores were not available at press time