CARVER — Playing without its best player, the Old Colony boys soccer team found itself facing a familiar foe with a familiar outcome.
After being eliminated by a score of 7-0 by Carver in the first round a year ago, the second-seeded Cougars played almost the same Carver team in the Div. 4 South Sectional semifinals, losing 6-1 Saturday on the turf field at Carver High School.
High-scoring striker Zach Soucy hasn’t played since injuring his knee vs. Blue Hills Oct. 15. His replacement, sophomore Jake Gauthier, left the game with a collarbone injury less than 10 minutes into the scoreless first half and didn’t return.
Two minutes later, Carver was on the scoreboard on Dom Craig’s first of two goals and, 10 minutes later, Cole Berry made it 2-0.
Craig converted a centering pass from Mike Sawicki with 28:36 to play in the half and Berry’s initial shot was stopped by junior keeper Nate Teixeira, but the ball broke through his save and into the net.
“We were trying to do what we could to make it a game, but we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Old Colony coach Sergio Pedrosa said. “We finished out the season without Zach and played well. We lost our only two matches of the season against Keefe Tech (of Framingham). Last year, Keefe beat us seven or eight to nothing. This year we lost 4-3 and 4-1. We were able to put up a respectable showing without Zach, so I was optimistic coming into this game.”
Sawicki sent a pass through from the right side to the left post where Craig was waiting to shoot it into the open net with 13:40 to go in the half, increasing the lead to 3-0.
With just under three minutes to play in the half, Carver attacked on a 2-on-1 break, forcing Teixeira to pick a player to defend. It was Sawicki, who found an open C.J. Vincent on his right for the easy goal.
Sawicki made it 5-0 just before halftime when his 22-yard boot sailed just under the crossbar.
In the half, Teixeira made six saves while his counterpart, Ben Vitale, was called on to make one stop for the Crusaders.
Sawicki made it 6-0 1:21 into the second half, banging home a rebound.
Old Colony senior Max Smith ended the shutout, firing a solid 25-yarder that tipped in off Vitale's hands with 4:54 to play.
“We have seven starters who come from Carver and Max is one of them,” Pedrosa said.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Old Colony season ended with a Mayflower League championship and a 15-3-3 record. ... The run to the semifinals included a 3-1 win over Upper Cape Regional and 2-1 quarterfinal victory over South Shore Christian Academy. ... Sixth-seeded Carver, the runner-up to Cohasset in the South Shore League, is 12-3-3 and will play fifth-seeded Cohasset (15-4-2) in the sectional final Monday at Holbrook High. ... Cohasset eliminated top-seeded Nantucket (19-1-1), 2-1 on penalty kicks.
PEDROSA: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. The growth of this team from the beginning of the year has been incredible. Look at the other three semifinalists and they’re all comprehensive schools. They all have youth feeder programs. We’re trying to piece together players from four or five towns. ... We look to continue to progress and go one round further than this year. Every year we are progressing and we’ll make it.”
OLD COLONY STATS: Teixeira made 10 saves as Carver held a wide territorial advantage in play. ... The Cougars did not take a corner kick.
CARVER STATS: Vitale made four saves, three in the second half when many of the players in front of him were off the bench. ... The Crusaders took six corner kicks, but none led to a score.
NOTES: In his four years as head coach of the Cougars, Pedrosa has a regular-season record of 50-17-7.