BEVERLY — It’s tough to put numbers on the board when you can’t maintain possession for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, the Danvers boys soccer team fell victim to this reality during Wednesday’s tilt at Beverly.
The Panthers dominated in that department, seemingly playing keep away with their Northeastern Conference rival en route to a dominant 2-0 win at Forti Field.
It was Beverly’s third consecutive victory after being shut out in its season opener against Revere, and it appears first-year head coach Edgar de Leon and his new group are moving in the right direction.
“One of the things that we work on consistently in practice is not losing the ball,” said de Leon. “We have a lot of really good technical players that are able to do that, and I think right now the possession is probably the strength of our game.
“We still have a long ways to go, I think: sometimes we play great and sometimes we just can’t get off the starting line. But luckily we’ve been able to come up with some good results without it costing us.”
While the Panthers controlled the pace and flow throughout, both their goals came in the opening half of action.
Carter Shepherd got things started with a strike to the back of the net off a nice feed from sophomore Nick Braganca. Not long after the latter sent a cross to freshman Sam Phillips, who booted one home.
The towering and talented second-year player Braganca has now scored or assisted in each of the Panthers’ past three games and has visibly been a huge boost on both sides of the ball.
“He’s getting a lot of experience and at the same time he’s contributing big minutes and big plays in every game,” said de Leon. “I just can’t wait to see this kid get into his junior and senior years; he’s going to be a huge impact player everywhere he goes.”
The second half was more of the same for Beverly — just without the scoring.
Danvers (0-2-1) did its best to generate scoring opportunities, getting strong play up top from guys like Dan Rossitto and Nolan Hills, but they just weren’t able to get off many clean looks. The Falcons managed three shots on goal after the break, including a low angled boot from Jacob Ryan that was swallowed up at the last second.
For Beverly, goalkeepers Finn Crocker and Brandon Rodriguez did a nice job securing the shutout while freshman Ian Visnick and senior captain Chris Rosetti were stout in front of them.
It was a total team effort all around for the Panthers, one they hope to carry into Saturday’s game at Peabody.
“It’s funny because we’ve been able to get off to some quick starts ... we did it against Swampscott last game and we did it against Wilmington (last Saturday),” said de Leon. “But then once we start to settle into the game, we kind of forget that we have to go score. It’s something that we need to address within the next couple of days before we see Peabody.”