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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The DS and Medfield varsity boy’s soccer teams met for the first of two meetings this season on Thursday afternoon on the new turf at MHS in a battle between two arch rivals. Despite a late offensive surge by both teams, the game ended in a 2-2 draw; both teams were able to salvage a point in an extremely hard-fought TVL match.
A strong first-half defensive effort by Raiders senior captain Sam Hartley (No 18), Zack Abrams (No 15), and John Muckstadt (No 13) thwarted Medfield from being able to cash in on numerous odd-man rushes up the field early in the game.
Medfield goalkeeper Liam McNulty (10 saves) and DS goalkeeper Robbie Black (8 saves) kept the game scoreless at the half despite some incredible chances by both teams, including a hit cross bar by Medfield’s Marshall Bushnell 14 minutes into the match.
The second half began the same way the first half ended, and the game appeared as if it was going to be one of those games in which both goaltenders steal the show and the game ends in a 0-0 draw.
However, despite great offensive zone pressure by DS early in the half, the Warriors were finally able to break the scoring drought and draw first blood when Jack Cahil (No 10) headed the ball off a Marshall Bushnell (No 13) corner kick into the back of the net in the 21 minute.
Just over a minute later in almost incredible fashion, the Raiders tied the game when senior captain Eli Yasuna (No 23) broke in alone on a busted coverage by Medfield and chipped a shot through McNulty, trickling across the goal line.
With 15 minutes left to play, Medfield’s Devan Venkataraman (No 4) headed a throw in attempt by teammate Davis White (No 18) past the reach of Robbie Black and into the cage for a 2-1 Medfield advantage.
Similarly to the first round of goals the two teams scored early in the second half, DS was quick to strike back and knot the game at two just a minute later when a corner kick attempt by Jack Gardiner (No 7) was headed in by Eric Linden (No 19). Both times that the Warriors were able to take the advantage in the game, the Raiders responded almost instantly; as shocking as it may be, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the history of great games these two bitter rivals share.
Following the Linden goal, DS took back control of all the momentum and began peppering the Medfield end with incredible pressure and scoring chances. None of the DS chances in the final minutes were better than that of Daniel Yang (No 5), whose point-blank shot from 10 feet out in stoppage time was batted away by Liam McNulty over the cross bar on an incredible save, keeping the game tied and preserving a point for the Warriors.
“Liam played really great today,” said Medfield head coach Jason Heim. “He stepped up big late in that second half and made some huge saves when it really counted.”
Heim also added that he was proud of the intensity and the energy brought by both his team and the fans and that it most certainly had a big impact on the game.
“This game was between two very high quality teams and it was very intense, we were fortunate enough to get a great turnout from the fans and our guys seemed to build off that energy.”
“It was back and forth throughout the entire game with momentum swings, big defensive plays and saves by each goalkeeper, it was a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile, Dover-Sherborn head coach Joe Gruseck stated following the game that he was pleased with the fight his team showed and their ability to bounce back quickly twice in pressure situations.
“There’s obviously some stuff we need to work on, but I was pleased with the way our guys fought back to tie the game twice, especially against a tough TVL opponent and rival like Medfield,” said Gruseck. “You let your guard down for a minute and anybody can burn you in this league.”