LYNN — The longer the St. John’s Prep soccer team kept Madison Park off the score sheet, the better chance it had at winning last night’s Division 1 North semifinals contest.
As strong of a defense as the Cardinals had, the Prep had outworked and outplayed them the entire way.
The third-seeded Eagles took it down to wire, more specifically more than 95 minutes into a scoreless double overtime. After two quality scoring chances by Madison Park, the Prep headed upfield determined to end the game.
After a misclear by the Cardinals, junior midfielder Tom Erickson got a shot off that found the right side of the net as the Eagles won, 1-0 with 3:31 left in double overtime.
“He hit it with confidence and certainly got his moneys worth,” said Prep head coach Dave Crowell. “I really feel we deserved to win this one. I know we dodged a huge one at the very end there, but we had complete domination of this game — we just couldn’t finish it.”
The Prep (16-2-3) is headed back to the North final to take on Somerville for the second straight season. They’ll play tomorrow back at Manning Field at 2 p.m.
“They’re a different team and we’re a different team,” Crowell said of the Somerville matchup, which the Highlanders won a year ago. “I’m sure everyone’s going to talk about the rematch. They’ve certainly hit their stride in the tournament, with eight goals in the first two games.”
Erickson was able to find the back of the net through traffic. His shot was precise and exactly what his team needed to prevent a penalty kick situation.
“Tom’s a kid who didn’t start the game, but his minutes have increased every game through the tournament,” said Crowell. “He was hurt in the middle of the year, but he really stepped up. I told him; ‘Thanks for making me look like a genius,’ because he hasn’t been out there in those crunch minutes.”