How about that Guy?

Nov 7, 2019 by

Jacob’s OT game-winner sends Warriors to quarterfinals

Published in the November 7, 2019 edition.

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

BILLERICA — In the end, only one Guy can be the hero.

That’s just the nature of overtime soccer.

So while there were many strong performances across the field yesterday at Shawsheen Valley Tech for a Div. 2 North first round boys’ soccer game, only one would be remembered for giving Wakefield their first playoff win in Div. 2 since, well, nobody really knows.

That man was junior midfielder Guy Jacob.

After nearly 95 minutes of gut-check playoff soccer combined with some tantalizingly close chances for Wakefield, senior captain John Summers found Jacob in a one-on-one situation up top. Jacob’s first shot was blocked, but he stuck with it, burying his second chance and before he knew it, ending up at the bottom of a proper OT celebration pile.

“I saw Johnny send it in and tried to shoot first time. I realized I panicked and missed,” said Jacob with a smile. “Then I calmed down and just put it in the bottom right corner.”

The goal certainly came with some relief for a 13th-ranked Warrior team who was in control all night against No. 4 Shawsheen but couldn’t break through.

“We dominated long, wide and deep and didn’t want to go to overtime but all is well that ends well,” said Wakefield head coach Ilir Ujkaj. “We outplayed them but they (Shawsheen) played hard, physical, they ran and that put us in a tough spot. They made it difficult for us.”

It was the first playoff win for the boys’ soccer program since the 2015 team made it to the Div. 3 North Finals. The 2014 team broke a postseason drought of over eight years, as far as the MIAA brackets go back.

The Warriors played like a team ready to make Div. 2 history early on.

Summers had a quick chance that went wide and Wakefield kept the ball mostly in Shawsheen’s half for the first 10 minutes. Any Ram chances were sent back by another strong performance from the back line of captain Pat Collins, Josh Goc and Logan Cosgrove.

Cosgrove broke up Shawsheen’s best chance in the first, hustling back to disrupt a potential breakaway and alter the shot.

The Warriors had a couple of corners but no real chances.

Eric Keefe and Joao Valdevino won possessions and played some nice balls up front but Wakefield still couldn’t find much space.

Nemo Rizk had a beautiful behind-the-back pass through to Keefe who was tripped up just inside the box. It was a foul, but not egregious enough to call in a tournament game.

Goalie Matt Sellers made every play he needed to and the first half ended 0-0.

Summers had a golden opportunity with the left foot early in the second but his bending shot just missed.

As coach Ujkaj said, Wakefield dominated possession, especially in the second half, but a pesky Ram defense continued to get in the way.

A shot from Valdevino was perhaps most agonizing with about 15 minutes left to play as his powerful, sinking drive was just tipped over the bar by the keeper.

Wakefield had multiple corner kicks afterwards, along with a few long throw-ins from Cosgrove but to no avail.

All it took was a little overtime magic.

“I was anxious but I knew we were going to take it home,” said Ujkaj.

The road Warriors will now travel to No. 12 Central Catholic on Saturday night at 6 p.m. for a quarterfinal matchup. The Raiders beat No. 5 Masconomet 1-0 yesterday. Central went 7-6 during league play against many tough teams and finished the regular season at 10-8.

The Warriors and Raiders actually scrimmaged each other in the preseason and Ujkaj is expecting an even game.

For now, the Warriors are just enjoying the moment. So far, it has been a welcome return to Div. 2. Wakefield wants to keep the good times rolling.

“Nobody remembers the last time this team played in D2 so matter what happens we’re making history and we’re having fun,” said Ujkaj.

“It’s all good. We’re happy for the town, happy for the soccer program and the high school.”

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