Boys Soccer Drops Intense Match To Nauset 2-1

David Creed •

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Photography by David Creed

The Nauset Warriors soccer program always fields an excellent soccer club every year. The Whaler boys soccer team had an opportunity to play them Thursday afternoon to begin their regular season, and nearly defeated them after scoring the first goal. But a Warrior’s goal in the final two minutes of the first half and a go-ahead goal just over a minute into the second half gave Nauset a narrow 2-1 victory over Nantucket.

“I was so happy with those first 40 minutes,” Nantucket head coach Rich Brannigan II said. “They way exceeded my expectations for the first 40 minutes of the season. I didn’t expect that. We hit all my pregame talking points of challenging for 50/50 balls, being one step ahead mentally and thinking the game before the ball is at your feet. They hit those points. Just that aggressive mentality is all I could have asked for as far as what happened in the first 40 minutes.”

Freshman Alexis Pena got the scoring going just seven minutes into the game by deking around the Warrior’s goalie and putting the ball into the empty net. The Whalers had most of the possession time in the first 40 minutes, with Nauset struggling to break it out of their own end.

The game stood at 1-0 for most of the first half. Junior Edin Vasquez got the start in net for Nantucket. It was the first varsity start of his career. Warrior’s striker Nate Watring scored the first of his two goals in the final moments of the first half when he got a rolling shot off to Vasquez’s left that just barely trickled past him and into the net to make it a 1-1 game going into halftime.

Brannigan warned his team Nauset could come out aggressive to begin the final half, and he was correct. Watring put another past Vasquez just over a minute into the second half to give Nauset a 2-1 lead they'd hold onto. But from that point forward Vasquez was very sharp. He had several high-quality stops and his aggressiveness spiked as he began to break up chances in the box by punching balls out of the danger areas.

“He has no varsity experience and limited junior varsity experience so for him to step up you got to give him props for stepping up and wanting to be in goal because it is not for everybody,” Brannigan said. “A lot of what we talked about was next play mentality. He is learning that as a young goalie. His size is great. His speed across the goal mouth is really good. He grew into the game and was more aggressive. In all phases I saw him improving throughout the game and I’m really happy for him.”

Nantucket didn’t have as many offensive chances in the second half, but sophomore Jake Johnson nearly buried the equalizer with six minutes left in the game when he rang a blast off the near-side post. It was one of two hit posts in the game, with senior captain Treyce Brannigan hitting the left post in the first half.

Nantucket walked away with a loss, but Brannigan II believes this is a good first step for his team as they look forward to the rest of the season.

“I expect this to be a good stepping-stone, one of those building block games,” he said. “For the boy’s confidence I think they felt good. Keeping Nauset 2-1, they felt good. Having a lead for 40 minutes in the first half. They tying goal didn’t necessarily affect the boys. They didn’t crumble. Then Nauset’s go-ahead goal we didn’t crumble we just said ‘okay they scored another but what are we going to do next? They kept responding in a positive way and I am proud of them for that.”

The Whalers will look to earn their first win of the season on Saturday when they travel to East Bridgewater to take on the Vikings at 1 p.m.

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