SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 11, 2013

Slow start cost H-W boys in North finals loss

By Dan Harrison
Staff Writer

---- — LYNN—The Hamilton-Wenham boys soccer team finished strong in both halves of yesterday’s North Division 4 final against Georgetown.

The Royals were aggressive at the opening kick and coming out of the intermission as Georgetown scored the 2-0 victory over the Generals.

“I think the guys were fired up but Georgetown was quicker to the ball and had more ball control,” explained H-W (12-5-5) head coach Matt Gauron, whose Generals gave up a first half goal on a penalty kick. “That early penalty kick hurt us. It’s not the way you want to start a game. We were playing hard we just caught the (Royals player) wrong.”

The Royals (13-2-7) early aggressive play in the midfield helped the team sustain offensive pressure which led to an opportunity in the box for Georgetown’s Ben Noelk, who was tripped up and awarded a PK on the play. Noelk faked right and booted a low shot just to the left of H-W keeper Henry Eager to make it 1-0 Georgetown midway through the opening half.

“Anytime you get an early goal it lifts your team up,” noted Royals skipper Matt Laut. “That set the tone. Since the playoffs started we’ve dominated the first five minutes. Today I thought we came out on fire to start both halves and that set the tone.”

Already ahead 1-0, Georgetown extended the lead in the second half when Justin MacRae played a through ball perfectly to Ben Denoncour, who booted the ball into the right hand side of the net. The Generals defense had misplayed the ball trying to clear the defensive end and the Royals capitalized.

“It was a perfect feed and a perfect finish,” Laut said of the goal.

The Generals, meanwhile, couldn’t find a way to get star striker Russell Grigorian free in the middle of the field. The Royals were extremely physical with Grigorian and always had the double-team ready while keeping the striker to the outside.

“I thought they (Georgetown) contained him (Grigorian) and kept him to the outside so he had no runs up the middle,” said Gauron. “They had one guy on him and then another came if he got the ball. It’s tough to do against Russell.”

The Generals didn’t make the playoffs last season but this fall the team really came together to make a strong run in the North Div. 4 tournament as the seven seed. H-W upset second seeded Rockport and sixth seeded St. Mary’s before falling to the fifth seeded Royals — a team the Generals had tied 1-1 in the regular season.

“This team didn’t make the playoffs last year so to come all this way, I feel good about that,” said Gauron. “It’s too bad we couldn’t be moving on.”