Medfield's Kyle Gaffney (10) brings in a ball out of the air and attempts to avoid a pressuring Padraig Lombard (18) of Westwood. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Barring a postseason rematch, Medfield and Westwood High School boys soccer met for the second and final time last Thursday afternoon.
The first time these two rivals met back on September 13 in Westwood displayed heavy amounts of defense, resulting in a 0-0 draw.
The Wolverines (8-3-3, ) traveled to Medfield on a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2). Meanwhile, the Warriors (8-6-2) looked to rebound following a 2-0 defeat to Holliston on October 19, a loss that snapped an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1).
Similarly to the first go-round, offense was difficult to come by on Thursday. However, less than 30 seconds in, Westwood nearly drew first blood. Padraig Lombard broke in down the left alley and fired a shot on goal from distance. Medfield junior goalie Sam Carnes leapt and batted the ball up and off the crossbar for a phenomenal save to keep the game scoreless.
With 33:43 to play in the half, a misplay in the Medfield end allowed Westwood senior Kyle Hallahan to rush in and steal the ball from Carnes right in front of the net. Hallahan corralled the ball and struck home a lefty shot into the back of a wide open net to put Westwood ahead 1-0. On the play, Carnes took an elbow to the face and was forced to leave the game. He did not return.
With about nine minutes to play before halftime, Chris Hoffman broke in on a break and beat a pair of defenders for a one-on-one with Westwood goalie Donald Varnerin. Hoffman faked left and slipped a perfectly placed shot with his left foot destined for inside the far-right post. Unfortunately for Hoffman, the perfectly placed shot was countered by a perfect sprawling save by Varnerin, who dove to his left and finger-tipped the ball just outside the post and out of bounds to keep the game 1-0 Westwood.
Still 1-0 with time winding down, Medfield began to take more chances in search of the tying goal. The Warriors' aggression came back to bite them with 3:42 to play. Drew DeStefano stole a pass at midfield and fed a ball up the seam to Hallahan. After making a series of defenders miss, Hallahan cut to the cage and deked out Medfield's replacement goalie before depositing home his second of the night to make it 2-0, all but clinching the 2-0 victory for Westwood.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.