WOONSOCKET – With the season seven-games old, Woonsocket High has played close against nearly all of its opponents in the heavily-contested Division II-North with the outcomes determined by an average of one or two goals.
Under a steady rainfall at Barry Field Friday afternoon, the Villa Novans ran into another strong foe in Moses Brown. And a pair of goals in the first half by the visitors would spell the difference in this one as the Quakers handed the Villa Novans a hard-to-swallow 2-1 loss.
The defeat drops Woonsocket to 3-3-1. Moses Brown evened its record at 3-3-0. The two rivals are behind divisional-leader Tolman (7-0-0), Smithfield (5-0-1) and Mount St. Charles (4-2-0).
“They always play us tough. They are well-coached. They have good players and they are very skilled,” said Moses Brown coach Eric Aaronian. “It could have gone either way today. We just scored one more than they did.”
Talman Bigelow and Will Frey found the net for the Quakers in the initial half. Bigelow gave his teammates a 1-0 advantage at the midway point and a few minutes later Frey scored the game-winner on WHS keeper Kory Lawrence (11 saves).
Bigelow benefitted from some bad luck by the Villa Novans on his score when a Woonsocket defender slipped on the wet grass, allowing the junior midfielder to sneak one past Lawrence. Frey scored on an assist from Dan Harrington with the luck again shifting in the Quakers’ favor.
“The second goal, I guess the referee said the sweeper slipped and they crossed the ball in front of the goal.,” said WHS coach Andy Rao.
Woonsocket had its chances in the first half to put a number on the board. The slippery conditions prevented a prime opportunity for junior Tony Pacheco, who fell while trying to unload a shot near the box with about 15 minutes left until the break.
“He slipped and fell on a rebound,” Rao said. “That was the difference. Our guy fell and they scored. Then we fell and didn’t score. That makes a difference…He slipped and fell in the box and there was nobody on him. The guys knocked it out and our player was coming in and he just slipped and fell.”
Senior Matt Menorath scored the lone goal for Woonsocket at the seven-minute mark of the second half off a feed from sophomore Newton Kittavong. In what was an even-played tilt, Woonsocket had one of a handful of opportunities with about 17 minutes remaining when junior Sebastian Mercado had a perfect header near the box.
“He crossed it across the middle and no one was there,” Rao said.
Aaronian expected just the type of game that transpired on the field between the two league opponents.
“They always play hard,” he said. “Even down two goals, they scored the first goal in the second half. We knew that. We knew they had the potential to do that and we were prepared for it. We were lucky we held them off. They can be dangerous in the second half.”
The Novans’ suffered a few causalities in the second half, losing junior defender Steven Silva with a possible hip flexor injury and freshman defender Nathan Cartier, who was hit hard in the shins.
“We had to switch people around in the second half, but they ran hard,” Rao said. “They played much better in the second half.”
Woonsocket will have the weekend off, but then it's back to business on Monday when it faces Tolman at Barry Field. The Tigers posted the only one-sided affair against the Villa Novans with a 6-0 rout on Sept. 16 at the McKinnon-Alves Soccer Complex.
“I wish we were a little better right now,” Rao said. “There were some games we should have won and we didn’t. I wish we did better against Mount Hope (a 2-0 loss on Sept. 14) and these guys. Overall, it’s been pretty good.”
Moses Brown 2 0 – 2
Woonsocket 0 1 – 1
First half – 1. MB, Talman Bigelow (Jason Foster) 20:00; 2. MB, Will Frey (Dan Harrington) 23:00.
Second half – 3. W, Matt Menorath (Newton Kittavong) 8:00.
Saves – MB, Galen Perry 10. W, Kory Lawrence 8. Shots – MB 9. W 11.