TOPSFIELD — Sometimes it takes a game or two to get into tournament mode, and yesterday No.1 seeded Masconomet found its stride in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.
With key players injured on the sidelines, the undefeated Chieftains showed why they deserved to be in the top spot with a 3-0 win over visiting East Boston. Masconomet will play St. John’s Prep on Thursday at Manning Field (7:30 p.m.) in a semifinal showdown.
Unlike Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Chelmsford, in which Masco took 78 minutes to strike, this time the Chieftains only needed two minutes to grab the lead.
“That’s the one thing we always try to do every game, to get off to a good start and set the tempo for the game,” said senior captain Chip Sherman who assisted on Keyon Olia’s opening goal and also on the final score of the game. “So to put one in that early, it’s really nice especially because we haven’t been able to do that all year.
“Once we get that one goal, everyone starts to calm down a little bit and play our possession game.”
Outside back Justin Clark had a perfect throw in to Sherman along the right side. With a quick move to center the ball, Sherman found Olia in front of the net to put Masco up 1-0.
The Chieftains (18-0-2) were quick to the ball as was East Boston, which made for a fast-paced up and down game. The Jets (13-4-1) spent a lot of time in the Masco zone, probably more than head coach Dave Mitchell would have liked— but the defense was solid and never missed a beat.
Even with senior captain Demetri DeCoulos on the bench due to a separated shoulder, which he suffered in Sunday’s game, the backfield looked superb. Together DeCoulos and fellow captain Tighe Van Lenten have anchored that defense all year long. DeCoulos has started in every game for the past two seasons, but the Chieftains were able to compensate for the loss.
“Sophomore Kevin Gilbert took my place, he usually plays outside back,” explained DeCoulos. “And we just moved a couple of guys around a little bit. I’m proud of the way my team was able to take the 3-0 win.”
Mitchell made the decision to go with senior keeper John Black in net after playing Derek Grammer in the game against Chelmsford. Together the duo have combined for 16 shutouts this season, including yesterday’s. Black has yet to give up a single goal through the nine games he’s played in and recorded five saves for the win yesterday.
“We’ve been splitting time with them all year long and they’ve been great with it,” said Mitchell. “There wasn’t really any thinking in the decision behind it, we have two outstanding goalkeepers and we want to keep them game ready. “
The Cape Ann League champs took a 2-0 lead heading into halftime after senior Colby Farmer slid one by the East Boston keeper. Edison Forbes made the play to keep the ball in the zone, while Farmer used a quick release to put Masco up by a pair.
With seven minutes to play in the game, Sherman took a free kick from midfield, which junior Adam Grammer hooked in to give the undefeated Chieftains their final score.