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Div. 2 boys' state soccer final

Groton-Dunstable derails C-C

By Craig Forde
Globe Correspondent / November 20, 2011

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WORCESTER - Groton-Dunstable turned the lights off on the high school soccer season with a 2-0 victory over Concord-Carlisle last night in the Division 2 state title game at Worcester State.

Daniel Beyh and Alex Merlino scored in the second half as the Crusaders (20-1-1) won their first championship since 2001 in beating the two-time defending state champs.

Groton-Dunstable looked for the long ball early, attempting numerous through passes in the direction of Nate Pomeroy and Kyle Romich. But Concord-Carlisle’s defense, led by Thomas Kearns, Chris Walker-Jacks, and Brendan Nunan, ably cleared away any threats.

A Crusaders cross into the box at the 16-minute mark got hairy for the Patriots when Pomeroy turned and misfired, with the ball squirting free before keeper Cray Novick could cover.

Doug Rosa came up with another solid chance for Groton-Dunstable as he dribbled into the box and wound up for a close shot that was deflected on a nice slide tackle by Nunan.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Patriots penetrated the Crusaders’ stifling defense with Mike O’Brien finding Scott Brazina on his left, who then found Stephen Yen streaking into the box, but Yen’s blast went over the crossbar.

With 19 minutes on the clock, Merlino worked the Patriots near the end line. His slick dribbling paid off when he found Beyh, who buried the cross on the right side.

“I just knew that eventually if I kept sending the crosses over that somebody would be in the right place, and we put it in,’’ said Merlino. “It worked out nicely.’’

Concord-Carlisle mustered a late chance as Ethan Atwood found O’Brien, who stopped to deke a defender, then fired on Crusaders keeper Ben Chilcoat, who made a diving save.

“I don’t even remember it, it was that quick,’’ said Chilcoat, who moved from midfielder to keeper and posted four straight shutouts in the tournament. “The [defense] played amazing all playoffs and I owe it to them.’’

Moments later Merlino’s fancy footwork was put on display again as he cleared two defenders on the left side, then came in and fired the ball to the back of the net for an insurance goal.

“It took a while, but we finally were persistent and got our goals,’’ said Merlino.

After losing 15 seniors from the championship team of 2010, the Patriots (16-5-2) started the season with only two returning starters.

Following a slow start, they stormed to the finish by winning 12 of their final 14 games.

“We improved a tremendous deal over the course of the year,’’ said Concord-Carlisle coach Ray Pavlik. “I’ll look back on this season with a lot of good memories.’’