Returning strikers make difference for Brooks
The welcome return of two talented strikers helped Brooks control play in a deceiving 1-0 quarterfinal boys soccer victory over Suffield Academy.
Brooks will host Williston Northampton in the semifinals Saturday at 2 p.m.
Despite still struggling from injuries suffered two weeks ago, Zach Vieira of Andover (separated shoulder) and Elijah Soko (MCL) left it all on the pitch and played a part in the game's only goal.
In the 37th minute, Soko tracked down a pass into the box and beat two Suffield defenders to the baseline. Soko then chipped a pass out to Greg Conrad, who funneled the ball around to Vieira. The junior converted on the perfect pass, depositing the ball into the upper corner of the cage.
"Soko was playing his first game in two weeks and couldn't even plant well on his left foot," said head coach Dusty Richard. "He did it all right-footed. He soldiered on, but even at 25 or 30-percent he's an outstanding player. It's important when he plays because other teams have to mark him with two players, giving his teammates opportunities.
"Zach came back last Saturday but struggled," Richard said. "He couldn't even lift his arm over his head, but he felt better (yesterday) and played well. I give both guys credit. They gave it their all."
Combined with dominant efforts from backs Sam Milbury and Jory Makin (ISL-high 11 assists on the season) along with midfielders George Demoulas and Nick Potter, Suffield rarely got to the Brooks net, sending just three shots in the direction of goalie Cam Johst.
"The midfielders and backs were monsterous," Richard said of the effort that earned Johst his sixth shutout of the season. "They destroyed every attack that came their way.
"(Yesterday's game) was reminiscent of our play in the midseason, before (the Halloween weekend snowstorm) caused a power outage for five days and sent the students off campus," Richard concluded. "We were undefeated then, and we were very strong again (yesterday)."
Goals: B — Zac Vieira
Assists: B — Greg Conrad
Saves: B — Cam Johst 3; SA — 12