Boys Soccer Season Ends In North Semis [VIDEO]
North Andover scored late in the first half and went on to a 3-0 win, ending Wilmington's successful campaign.
Steve Scanlon’s Wilmington boys soccer team had a great season. They didn’t, however, have a great day on Saturday.
“It was a bad day to have a bad game,” said the Wildcat head coach, whose team was eliminated with a 3-0 loss to North Andover in the North Division 2 semifinal. “We stood around watching for a good portion of it. Not to take anything away from them because they’re a good club that put us under a lot of pressure. But we just didn’t have a good day.”
Despite struggling at times in the opening half, Wilmington was in position to enter the intermission in a scoreless tie.
But instead, the Scarlet Knights began to ramp up the offensive pressure in the closing minutes before halftime, and eventually cracked the scoreboard with less than one minute to go.
“Giving that goal up before the half was tough,” said Scanlon. “When you’re chasing the game, it’s a tough thing to do.”
North Andover struck again with 24:59 to go in the game on a high skilled shot from deep that settled in right under the crossbar, putting the game essentially out of reach.
Just for good measure the Scarlet Knights added a third goal with less than two minutes to play, advancing to face Concord-Carlisle in the bracket final.
“When you go deep in the tournament for the first time, nerves and jitters do play a part in it. I think we saw some of that today,” said Scanlon, who returns a long list of key players next year. “So you do benefit from every round you go through. You go through a lot of tough games and it only hardens you. So hopefully we can learn from this a little bit.”
Following the setback, Wilmington ended its campaign with a record of 14-2-5, including two postseason victories.
Scanlon said a final four berth and a Middlesex League regular season title made this a season to remember.
“I think we exceeded expectations for this team,” said Scanlon, who will soon get ready to defend his state title as Wilmington’s boys hockey coach. “Winning the league was a big thing. We have a solid bunch of kids who are good players. We’re hoping to come back next year and do it again.”