Another chapter was added to the story that is the Madison Park boys’ soccer team Tuesday afternoon when it battled a tough Acton-Boxborough team in a Division 1 MIAA quarterfinal.
And oh, what a battle it was.
Madison Park eventually edged Acton-Boxborough, 1-0, in double overtime to clinch a spot in a semifinal matchup with St. John’s Prep, which also won Tuesday, 1-0, over Lexington.
“I thought we started the game off kind of slow,” Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “But I knew we were going to hold out on defense, so I just kept telling the guys to keep playing hard and one was eventually going to go in.”
But neither Gomes nor anybody else in attendance could have predicted that the deciding goal would come off a deflection from the opposing team.
With the second 10-minute overtime period winding down and penalty kicks looking certain to follow, Madison Park had a throw-in opportunity deep in Acton-Boxborough’s zone.
This wasn’t an uncommon scenario for the Cardinals.
All afternoon, senior defender Emiky Pires fired throw-ins toward Colonial goalie Andrew Hoang, hoping for a rare header opportunity. And Pire’s persistence finally paid off with almost no time remaining.
In a cluster of both Cardinals and Colonials, the ball deflected off an A-B player to give Madison Park the victory in thrilling fashion.
“I was telling the guys all game to stay on that back post. I’ll get you the ball there,” Pires said. “We’ve got some tall players, so I kept saying that I’ll find them off the throw-in. It was a lucky one, but it worked.”
Both defenses dominated all afternoon. Acton-Boxborough held tough, and ultimately a strange play ended its season.
“My team’s been fantastic all year,” Acton-Boxborough coach David Baumritter said. “We’ve been very resilient and found ways to win games. Unfortunately tonight we just couldn’t pull it together. Madison Park has some strong individual players, and they deserved to win this game for sure.”
Madison Park, the Boston City champion, continues its tournament run Thursday at Manning Field in Lynn at 5 p.m.
And the Cardinals couldn’t be more thrilled.
“Today’s a huge win,” Pires said. “We want to keep winning and continue to move forward. We want to show everyone what we’ve got. State has been what we’ve been looking for all season.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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