Watertown — down a player — kicks it up a notch to make Div. 3 North final
Raiders tip top-seeded Wayland in penalty kicks, 5-4, in MIAA boys' soccer tourney
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The Watertown boys’ soccer team, playing with only 10 men, won its MIAA Division 3 North semifinal against top-seeded Wayland on Wednesday night at Woburn High.
The game ended through penalties as both teams battled their way in 110 minutes of action (including overtime).
The penalties were really close. Wayland had the first kick to start the shootout. Raiders goalie Sergio Salas saved it perfectly as he dived to the right side with full extension to block it out.
For Watertown’s first kick, Alex Abrahamyan stepped up to the line. He kicked it to the bottom right corner to put WHS up, 1-0.
Wayland and Watertown made all of their kicks in the next three rounds — with Alex Egan, Robert Danielian, and Jafiah Edwards scoring for the Raiders.
Wayland scored in the fifth round, tying it at 4-4, making it Watertown’s turn to win the game.
Jose Mendoza was the last kicker. If he makes it, Watertown advances to the sectional final.
He stepped up and placed it beautifully to the opposite side of the goalie.
Fifth-seeded Watertown (14-6-1) advances to the North finals, where it will play seventh-seeded Melrose (11-4-6) on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at Manning Field in Lynn.
“These boys believed in themselves, but were still not finished,” said Watertown coach Frank Cacia. “We still have some work to do.”
In the beginning, both teams came out clashing with attacks, but Wayland (11-2-5) took over the half. Wayland had possession of the ball a lot more than Watertown, and the Warriors distributed the ball very well to each other.
Salas came up big as he saved crucial shots early on. Wayland had a nice build-up play as the Warriors found an open man in the corner to cross into the middle and got a header off, but Salas saved it by sticking his foot out.
Watertown’s defense had a tough time controlling Wayland, but Abrahamyan did a good job to end the half scoreless.
Starting the second half, Wayland came out strong once again, worrying the Raiders in conceding a goal.
With around 20 minutes left, Andrew Koutroukas received a red card for a sliding tackle on a Wayland player. The referee, with no hesitation, pulled the red card from his pocket and raised his hand. Koutroukas had been sent off the field and Watertown had to play with 10 men for another 20 minutes.
Watertown did a good job resisting a goal as the Raiders played more defensive as the game moved toward overtime.
Wayland had a couple more shots, scaring the Watertown fans in the last minutes of regulation. Salas came up big once again, once again saving crucial shots. The game went into overtime as the score stayed at 0-0.
Overtime was crazy. Fans from both sides were going crazy, wanting their team to score to put them into the finals. The fans were giving their all in supporting their team by yelling and chanting in the freezing cold night.
Watertown — still playing with 10 men — was able to keep Wayland’s offense out of their box for another 30 minutes to finally put themselves in a safe position. Watertown did a fantastic job, even as senior star Akif Yagcioglu played with a hurt leg, continuing to give it his all through the moments of play.
“I was really hurt, but I had no choice,” he said. “I wanted and needed to stay with my team and make sure to play until the whistle blew.”
–Nov. 8, 2017–