Spartans catapult into first place

Spartans catapult into first place

Scituate senior tri-captain Shane Langton, right, shown bringing the ball up the field in front of St. Raphael Academy midfielder Diego Romero during last Thursday afternoon’s Division III game at the Spartans’ Caito Field, has scored 12 goals in helping the Spartans jump into first place with their 8-1-2 record. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Boys’ soccer team grabs three wins to improve Div. III record to 8-1-2

NORTH SCITUATE – When the Scituate High boys’ soccer team boarded its bus on Monday afternoon after wrapping up its 2-0 victory over Woonsocket at the Novans’ Barry Field, the Spartans found themselves atop the Division III standings with an 8-1-2 record that was a point better than Pilgrim’s 8-1-1 mark and two better than Toll Gate’s 8-2 record.

The Spartans jumped into first place by posting three victories over a five-day span that also included last Thursday’s 3-2 victory over previously undefeated St. Raphael Academy and last Saturday’s 6-1 win over Block Island, which both took place at Scituate’s Barry Field.

Scituate’s victory over SRA was the biggest of the bunch, and probably the Spartans’ season. Not only did their victory knock the Saints, which entered Tuesday’s D-III action with a 7-1-1 record, out of first place, but it also gave SRA its first regular-season loss in two years.

“(That was a) big win,” Scituate head coach Tim Brown said. “We knew (SRA) wanted to speed the game up and play faster, so we tried to remind the team at halftime and the beginning of the game to slow (the game) down when we got a chance, not try to rush things, and take away whatever momentum they had. They’re good and they can move the ball quickly. We just tried to stay in our spots, play our positions, and try to keep our shape, and in the end, it worked.”

While the Saints dominated possession throughout the contest, the Spartans capitalized on their opportunities, especially in the first half, as they took a 2-0 lead on goals by Dillon Langton and Mitchell Vernava.

The Saints came out on fire in the second half and tied the score at 2-2 on goals from Devan Kipyego and Antoine Serena, and as the half went on, the speed of play picked up, as the Saints peppered Joe Angelino in Scituate’s net. But with just over 10 minutes to play, Ryan Elias made a nice cross to Jack Campbell, who lofted his shot past SRA keeper Andrew Silva for the go-ahead goal.

“We figured they wanted us to come out and attack them on their half, when they had possessions, so we sort of let them come to us and tried to match up where we could,” Brown added. “We frustrated them in the first half, but in the second half, they solved it and put a few in, and they were dangerous all half. But we were able to get that third (goal) there and hang on.”

Moments after Campbell’s goal, the Saints came barreling up the field. Dylan Polion tried to put a shot on Angelino, but he was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick. Polion took the kick, but the shot was blocked by a diving Angelino.

“He gets better every single week,” Brown said about Angelino. “He gets more comfortable. It’s his first year starting, but he’s a senior, he’s just a great athlete, and he has great hands. Every week, he’s getting a better feel for what it is to be a goalkeeper out there. He’s been a great story for us all year; he’s had five or six shutouts and he’s been terrific.”

In the win over Block Island, the Spartans scored three times in each half and received a hat trick from Shane Langton. Dillon Langton also scored twice, Nick Pullano added the other goal, and Campbell was credited with three assists. And against Woonsocket, Shane Langton and Campbell netted unassisted goals in the second half and Angelino stopped seven shots for his shutout of the season.

Shane Langton, who leads the team with 12 goals, Evan Pendergast, and Vernava are the captains and playing in their fourth seasons with the team.

“Shane and Evan both got a lot of playing time as freshmen, and Nate played as a sophomore quite a bit,” Brown added. “They were around the couple of years we struggled and were young, but all that experience now I think is finally kind of helping out.”

Last year, the Spartans were 9-7 and won their opening-round playoff game with Blackstone Valley Prep before falling in the quarterfinals to the Saints.

“Our goal this year is to go as far as we can with these guys,” Brown added. “It’s going to be tough. There are some great teams in D-III, and you have six or seven really strong teams. (The playoffs) will be tough no matter who gets there.”

The Spartans will travel to East Providence on Thursday for a 4 p.m. game against Providence Country Day, and they will conclude their regular season with games at home against Rogers, Toll Gate, and Exeter/West Greenwich.

Scituate senior tri-captain Mitchell Vernava steps in front of St. Raphael Academy captain Alex Bautista and takes control of the ball near the sideline during last Thursday’s Division III contest at Caito Field. The Spartans, who topped the Saints, 3-2, entered Tuesday’s D-III action in first place with an 8-1-2 record.