By Gianna Addario STAFF WRITER
The Salem News
---- — TOPSFIELD — The Masconomet boys soccer team dominated the field for nearly 78 minutes of play during yesterday’s Division 1 North first-round matchup against Chelsmford, but had nothing to show for it.
However, as the old saying goes — possession is nine-tenths of the law — the Chieftains were bound to come up with a goal sooner or later.
A late goal that trickled in off striker Stephen Pease’s head gave Masco a 1-0 victory over 17th-seeded Chelmsford.
Senior striker Keyon Olia took the ball to the end line and crossed it in front of the net, where Pease was positioned perfectly for the lone goal of the game with just under two minutes to play.
“Earlier in the game, we had a bunch of chances,” said senior captain and Cape Ann League Player of the Year Chip Sherman. “We knew our goal was going to come, we just had to be patient.”
Their patience paid off, as the Chieftains extend their undefeated record to 17 games this season and will host East Boston tomorrow (2 p.m.) in the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Masco (17-0-2) had six shots on net in the opening half with opportunities from Michael Ennis, Sherman and Olia. The ball just didn’t bounce in the Chieftains’ favor, and Chelmsford goalkeeper Steve McLeod wasn’t letting anything by him.
“They’re a good team,” Chelmsford head coach Mike Parato said of Masco. “Every single player on their team can turn around, carry the ball and find an open guy. Their style of play just lends itself to fast attacks, and we knew that coming in.”
The Chieftains preserve their shutout streak, now with six in a row. Senior keeper Derek Grammer made the saves when he needed to, turning away two shots. Masco has allowed just four goals through 19 games, outscoring its opponents 61-4.
“We have Demetri (DeCoulos) and Tighe (VanLenten) in the back, so it’s really hard to score on them,” Sherman said of his fellow captains.
The ball rarely crossed into Masco territory in the opening half and probably more than it would have liked in the second. The Chieftains put 10 shots on goal during the 80 minutes, out-shooting Chelmsford 10-2.
“I’m proud of the fact that our guys didn’t get flustered,” said second-year head coach Dave Mitchell. “Sometimes it’s hard to crack a team that has 10 behind the ball at all times, and we didn’t panic.
“We’re a real talented team and it’s just a matter of trying to find the seams in the defense.”
Mitchell did a lot of subbing throughout the game, allowing the starters to rest and keeping fresh legs on the ball at all times.
“I’m not sure, but I think everybody, with the exception of our backup goalies, got some minutes,” Mitchell said. “It’s key for us. Teams that don’t have the depth might wear down a little bit and pack it in, but we’ve got some good talent and we want to use it when we can.”