LYNN — So often in a state soccer final, space on the field is impossible to come by and goals are few and far between.
Last night in the Division 2 championship match at Manning Field, Masconomet went wide to break that mold. In doing so, they broke into the pantheon of North Shore soccer greats.
The Chieftains scored three goals in four minutes at the start of the second half and held on for a 4-2 win over Walpole despite playing much of the second half with 10 players.
Masconomet (23-1-1) joyously hoisted the second Division 2 state championship trophy in their program history, and became the third area team to win a boys state soccer title in the modern era.
Knowing “2013” would be etched alongside “1996” in Masconomet soccer history was an incredible realization for the Chieftain seniors.
“Amazing. I’m at a loss for words,” said Adam Grammer, one of Masco’s captains. “I was born in 1996. It was just meant to happen.”
A throng of Masconomet fans turned out at Manning last night, bringing huge cardboard head cut-outs of goalie Willie Stewart and senior P.J. Criscione among others. There was one fan wearing a fully feathered Chieftain head dress. The Masco players were sure to run in front of them after each goal, and brought them the trophy in the sea of celebration afterwards.
“The whole school came out. Everyone was excited all day,” said Grammer. “This was an amazing atmosphere and we can’t thank them enough. To have I don’t know how many people out there behind us was special.”
The final was tied 1-1 at half when an eventful opening 10 minutes of the second half changed everything.
First, Masco captain Jeff Panella went down with an injury in the first minute of the half. It was the type of moment that could take the wind out of a team’s sails, especially with the game tied and Walpole gaining traction.