[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
It was a storybook comeback for the Wellesley High School boys soccer team on Monday night in Sharon, as the Raiders (4-3-2, 2-3-2) fought their way to a thrilling 2-1 victory while battling adversity, both on the scoreboard and on the rain-soaked grass that caused slippage throughout the contest.
Following a scoreless first half that saw the Raiders carry the majority of the play, it was Sharon who struck first as Daniel Lilienfeld fired home a goal on a fast break with 19:29 remaining to give the Eagles (1-6-4, 1-4-4) the 1-0 edge.
With 4:08 to play, Wellesley was awarded a free kick on the left side of the box. On the free kick, junior midfielder Oskar Haeberlain placed the ball perfectly into the box with a nifty little float pass, allowing DeOliviera to make an acrobatic header into the top left corner of the net to tie the game one.
A little over three minutes later during stoppage time, the Raiders were awarded a corner kick with the chance to break the tie and, in all likelihood, win the game. Haeberlain again floated a perfect ball into the box that was fired on cage by Christopher Kolb. The shot was saved initially by Sharon keeper Ethan Kantor, but the ball bounced right to DeOliviera, who potted the ball home just inside the near left post to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead, sending the Wellesley bench into a frenzy. The final whistle blew just seconds later and Wellesley pulled out the gutsy 2-1 victory.
“We’ve played a lot better than that and lost this season,” said Wellesley head coach Tim Mason following the victory. “But, we called a timeout with 16 minutes to go and we just said it doesn’t matter how we get it done. We try and play good soccer and possess the ball, but on this surface tonight it wasn’t about that, it was just about getting it done. We kind of changed tactics a little bit and played more of a direct game. I told the boys we needed to show a little more hunger and some desire. You saw at the end how much that meant to the group, because we’ve had some tough results and our season is kind of on the line just about every game. So if we hadn’t come away with the win here, we would’ve been in a bit of a bad position.”
As for DeOliviera, Mason credited the senior captain’s work ethic and says that nobody deserved to play the role of hero on Monday night for the Raiders more than him.
“He came into the season hurt and he’s been desperate to get back into the game,” said Mason about DeOliviera. “He wants it more than anybody else. He’s a leader, an absolute warrior. He takes the losses harder than most, and I’m so pleased he was able to get both of the goals. Very well-deserved.”
With back-to-back victories now under their belts, the Raiders will look to continue their winning ways when Wellesley travels to rival Framingham on October 11.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.