DANVERS — Coming into his team’s Division 2 North first-round matchup with Lynn Tech, Danvers boys soccer coach Mike Chase was confident that the Falcons had the skill advantage.
That didn’t mean he was certain about the outcome.
The Falcons played a near-flawless game and bounced Lynn Tech, 5-1, behind three goals and one assist from senior captain Eric Martin. Danvers will now host fifth-seeded Concord-Carlisle tomorrow night (6:30 p.m.) in the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs are an opportunistic group that feasts on turning mistakes into breaks, but Danvers (15-3-1) controlled play throughout, executed full-field defense and made the most of its scoring chances.
“I think we were a better team, but their style of soccer is to wait and wait and wait, then play for that late ball over the top,” Chase said. “That’s one of the scariest teams to play because you can kind of get complacent in the game and all of a sudden it comes over the top, you make a mistake and they’re going to capitalize every time.”
Lynn Tech (11-6-1) only capitalized once, and by that time Danvers had already produced three goals.
Still, even with his team hanging on to a 3-1 lead in the second half, Chase wanted to make sure his team didn’t let up because he knew how quickly the Bulldogs could bite.
Senior captain Francisco Franco and Emerson Imul, who beat the Danvers defense to a long ball eight minutes into the second half for Lynn Tech’s only goal, are both burners who have a nose for the net.
“Those two forwards are fantastic. We scouted them in their last (tournament) game against Malden Catholic and those kids gave that other team fits,” Chase said. “They had six to eight breakaways in the first 15 minutes of the game. We knew coming in that we had to take care of those guys in the back. That was the biggest fear. I knew if we did that we’d have a much better chance of winning.”
It also didn’t hurt that the Falcons scored quickly.
Martin finished a pass from Nikolay Sakhin just two minutes into the game to put Danvers ahead.
Lynn Tech produced a couple of scoring chances in the first half, but for the most part play was dominated by the Falcons. All of that possession eventually led to Drew Piazza heading home Caio Silva’s corner kick with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.
Martin increased Danvers’ lead to three goals with 2:23 to go before intermission, this time completing a pass from Brian Trefry.
“Our defense played outstanding everywhere, forwards playing defense on their fullbacks and pressuring the ball everywhere,” Chase said. “They just couldn’t possess against us. If they don’t have the ball in possession, then they can’t get the ball over the top to those (forwards).”
Imul cut into Danvers’ lead to start the second half, but the Falcons quickly got back into form.
With two goals already under his belt, Martin took on the play-making role, beating the Lynn Tech defense and sliding a pass over to Sakhin to push the lead back to three goals.
Martin then completed the hat trick with a header off a Silva free kick with 12:40 to play.
Danvers must now turn its attention to Concord-Carlisle, one of the traditional powers in Division 2.
The overall play on defense, in particular the play of freshman goalie Cam Bornstein has Chase optimistic. Bornstein made a great save on a late penalty kick.
“I think this win is big. We’ve got a freshman goaltender in there who didn’t start the season as our starter. He makes a huge PK save late in the game and it didn’t have an effect either way on the final score, but it’s one of those things,” Chase said. “We needed momentum, we needed to push the ball forward and play well. This was probably one of the strongest games of the year, as far as a total team effort.”