By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The third time was not the charm for Hingham
With just 10 seconds to play in the second overtime, Oliver Ames senior captain Chris Romero tucked away the game-winning goal to give the Tigers a 3-2 win, knocking Hingham out of the tournament for the third straight year.
Senior captain left back Max Bamford pushed a perfectly weighted ball over the top of the defense that Romero raced onto. Romero touched it and then used the outside of his left foot to find the side netting for the golden goal in the win, sending Muscato Stadium into a frenzy.
“I saw it coming and I knew the clock was winding down so I had to put a shot on goal,” Romero said. “We hadn’t tested the goalie to much and I just put one on frame and luckily it went bottom corner. To be honest I thought it was going to hit the post. I was lucky that it went right inside it.”
Hingham took the lead just over a minute into the game, converting on a deflected shot but Oliver Ames tied the game in the opening minutes of the second half and then took a 2-1 lead less than 10 minutes later. Hingham was able to knot the game in the 65th minute to send it into golden goal overtime.
“It was a great time to score because I didn’t want to go to penalties because we’ve seen good teams lose in PKs,” Oliver Ames head coach John Barata said. “We’ve practiced them but we want to avoid them as much as possible. They punished us in the first minute, which was a deflection so that happens.The second was miscommunication in the back but those things happen.”
Before the teams got to the overtime periods, Hingham nearly found the game winner in the final seconds of regulation. Will Anderson was able to get around his defender and fired a shot into what seemed like was an open net but sophomore Matt Alvarado had tracked back and blocked the bid off the line to keep the game level.
“A sophomore kid that has been excellent all year working hard to get back into the lineup,” Barata said. “He had injuries up until late September so he hadn’t been able to get in the flow. Lately he’s just been on. He played a significant amount of time and he’s just a great player. He made a great run to get back. That just represents the hard work and desire that these guys have. They fought to the end. What a save, he sprinted almost 40 yards to get that off the line, very impressive.”
Hingham came out flying in the opening minute, running all over the field and applying pressure in every direction. It worked in their favor as Will Anderson hit a shot from just outside the area that deflected off a defender, wrong footing keeper Jack Carroll and finding the back of the net.
Oliver Ames nearly responded right away when Keegan Nutt sent in Thomas McCormick and the junior tried to chip the keeper, but the ball rolled wide. The same sequence happened again in the 20th minute but this time keeper John Noonan wasn’t as far off his line and collected it again.
Nutt then had a chance himself, having a go from 25 yards out trying to catch Noonan off his line and he nearly did. His shot looked destined for the left corner but Noonan dove and got one hand to it to keep it out. In the 36th minute, McCormick had one more chance at beating Noonan from distance with a touch over him but it was just wide at the left post.
The first half pressure carried into the second half for Oliver Ames. A corner was cleared away but only as far as Cam Vella. The sophomore’s one time shot from just over 20 yards out clanked off the crossbar but Nutt was quick to follow it up and buried the rebound into the back of the net to tie the game.
Alvarado was a big reason for Oliver Ames’ go-ahead goal too. He was able to cut the ball away from a would-be defender in his own end, touched it forward and ripped a long ball over the top of the defense. McCormick was able to run onto it and was alone in on goal. Noonan came charging out and jumped to try and blocked the shot but blocked it with his hand outside the area. Noonan was given a yellow card and was forced to come off because of it.
“That shows that we don’t have just one good player on this team,” Romero said of Alvarado’s efforts on the blocked shot and set up. “Everyone’s working and it doesn’t matter what class you are. You could be a senior, junior, sophomore or freshman and everyone just plays with heart and that’s all that matters in the end.”
On the ensuing free kick, Romero put it up and over the wall and into the back of the net from 21 yards out to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Just over two minutes later, Hingham brought it back level. Brendan Bettencourt sent in a service from 40 yards out into the area. There was a bit of miscommunication for Oliver Ames as a defender got his foot onto it as Carroll had started to go out for it. The ball fell to the feet of Zach Morgan and he placed it into the back of the net.
Romero and McCormick each had chances in the final 15 minutes but had their chances denied or go over the bar.
Neither side registered a serious chance in the first overtime but with just over two minutes to play in the second overtime, the Tigers nearly had a winner. Vella tracked down a ball down the right wing and centered a pass. Sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza was able to chase it down and get a shot off but Noonan was positioned well. Vella also had a quick free kick from 30 yards out snuffed out by Noonan.
Then in the final minute, Bamford played it in for Romero who finished at the far post for his second of the game and the game winner.
“He’s a great kid, an All-State player,” Barata said of Romero. “He’s a terrific role model for us and he just stepped up and finished it for us.”
Oliver Ames (15-0-3) advances to the D2 South Semifinals for the third straight year. The Tigers will take on #2 Greater New Bedford (19-1) on Wednesday, November 11th at Marciano Stadium on the campus of Brockton High School. The game is set for a 6:00PM kickoff.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
- Attleboro’s Murphy Signs With NY Giants As An UDFA - 04/25/2020
- Former Tiger Santos-Silva Declares For NBA Draft - 04/04/2020
- 2020 Hockomock League Boys Swimming All Stars - 03/20/2020