DANVERS – After being ousted from the Division 1 North tournament the last two years by Acton-Boxborough, St. John’s Prep had something to prove yesterday afternoon.
The Eagles played a tight defensive game and made the game’s lone goal, scored by senior Levon Kazelyan, stand up in a in a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Acton-Boxborough before a large home crowd, which included a lot of students and the entire football team.
“We dug deep today,” head coach Dave Crowell said of St. John’s Prep (16-1-2). “They have a lot of speed, but we never let them split us with through balls.
“Our guys did a great job defensively. That’s been our strength all year, and the defense was outstanding today when we needed them to be strong.”
The fourth seeded Eagles will now meet top-seeded Masconomet (18-0-2) tomorrow night at Manning Field in Lynn (7:30 p.m.) in the Division 1 North semifinals.
The game’s lone goal came 13 minutes into the second half when Tommy Buonopane knocked down a head ball after a free kick, and Kazelyan drilled a perfectly placed shot into the top left corner that A-B goalie Andrew Hoang had no chance to stop.
“I just turned around and hoped for the best,” said Kazelyan, who notched his eighth goal of the season. “I wanted to let it go quickly. At the time I didn’t think that would be the winning goal, but I’m so glad it held up.”
Buonopane, a senior from Peabody who is like the Energizer Bunny in that he hustles all over the field with a motor that just won’t quit, was delighted to give the visiting Colonials (13-2-3) a taste of its own medicine.
“This is such a nice win, especially against that team that knocked us out two years in a row,” he said. “We won the 50/50 balls and the second chance balls. Nobody on our team ever gave up. All the credit on the goal goes to Lev; we run that play all the time in practice. What a beautiful finish.”