SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 16, 2012

State soccer powers St. John's, A-B fit to be tied

DANVERS — Can you really be that disappointed if you score two goals against a team that allowed that exact same amount in its first 11 games combined?

Can you really be upset after controlling the action for large chunks of time against a club from arguably the best high school soccer league in the state, but not have two points to show for it?

And can you really be frustrated after not losing to a squad that is unbeaten through a dozen matches this season?

If you’re the St. John’s Prep soccer team, you can be. That’s how high the Eagles have set their expectations this fall.

In a battle that had the look, feel and physical play of a state tournament game, St. John’s Prep battled powerhouse Acton-Boxborough to a 2-2 tie yesterday afternoon.

OK, so disappointed, upset and frustrated may be overstatements. Perhaps it’s better put that while the Eagles (12-1-1) wish they could have held on for the win, ultimately they know yesterday’s 80-minute showdown will make them better prepared in the long run for the upcoming state tournament.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” said senior midfielder Nick Agresti, who scored the Prep’s first goal yesterday. “It proves we can play with anyone. It’s great for our morale and confidence.”

“I’m disappointed we had the lead (in the second half) and gave it up,” added Dave Crowell, head coach of the Eagles, “but a game like this, ultimately it’s about getting better for states.”

In reality, there were a lot of positives for the Prep to hang their cleats on.

Goalkeeper Ben Alpern was immense on many occasions, making five saves in each half. The Beverly resident came up especially big in the second half when the Colonials (9-0-3) were pressing for the tying goal, making a spectacular diving stop to his right off a loose ball that went awry in the box. He also punched the potential go-ahead goal over his net late in the first half.

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