Winchester’s win against Woburn on Thursday, along with Belmont’s loss to Reading, solidified the Sachems lead in the Middlesex League. Last time they met, Woburn scored an early goal, and Winchester had to come from behind to win 2-1. This time Winchester looked strong from the opening whistle and beat Woburn 2-0.
The teamwork and crisp passing that we expect from the Sachems was demonstrated by a pretty sequence from Kevin Calnan to Nick Stern to Zach Samson at 20:30 into the game. Even though the shot missed the net, the constant pressure on the Woburn defense would soon pay off. At 31:45, Woburn committed a foul and Samson’s resulting free kick floated over the Woburn keeper’s head, right to Marino Espiga, waiting on the goal line to tap it into the net and give Winchester a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, at 35:30, Ben Hodges intercepted the ball and took it up the sideline to the Woburn goal. Woburn defended, giving Winchester a corner kick. Although Winchester didn’t score on the play, it was typical of the pressure they put on the Woburn defense the whole game. In the second half, Hodges had another chance and capitalized with his second goal of the season to give Winchester a 2-0 lead. Calnan got the assist; he took the ball up the middle and made a perfect pass in front of the goal to Hodges.
Winchester’s defense was once again key to success. Dan Boulanger at stopper and Alexi Taliadouros at sweeper worked with their teammates to keep Woburn off the scoreboard. Chris O’Connell played another flawless game in goal, giving the Sachems their 7th shutout in 15 games this season. According to boston.com, Winchester gives up only 0.7 goals per game, while leading the league with 2.2 goals scored per game. Winchester’s overall record of 11 wins, 1 loss, and 3 ties leads the Middlesex League again this year, after winning the league championship the last two years.
In an article by Mark Nadeau, Coach Vatan said, “I thought this was going to be a rebuilding year for us, but our kids put in the work in the off season and came back fit and ready to go, which shows their dedication. They don’t get tired and that adds a lot to our game. They really put their hearts into it.”
Close behind Winchester for first place in the Middlesex League is Lexington. Winchester won their last meeting 2-0, and can put them away when Lexington comes to Knowlton Field in Winchester, Saturday, October 20, at 2 PM. The Sachems last game of the regular season is against Arlington on Wednesday, October 24. That won’t be the end of the season however, as Winchester has qualified for the the postseason tournament. Look for announcements of the tournament schedule and come cheer the Sachems to victory.
*Corrections to the Winchester vs Belmont article