BURRILLVILLE --- After 10 games, there’s little question that Burrillville’s defense and midfield both rank among the very finest in the Division III ranks this season.
A few goals scored here and there, and the Broncos would probably be perched near the top of the standings as well.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, who came into the day yielding the fewest goals in the entire division, they remain in eighth place in the 16-team league, courtesy of a hard-fought 1-1 stalemate with sixth-place Scituate on Wednesday afternoon at Gledhill Field.
The tie was the third 1-1 draw of the season for the Broncos, who are 4-3-3 and lost their three games by 1-0 scores to (in order) Exeter/West Greenwich, third-place North Smithfield, and second-place Prout.
“Our defense is strong and our midfield is strong, but we’re just struggling with our finishing,” admitted Burrillville head coach Brian LaFauci. “I learned from doing this as long as I have that putting the ball in the back of the net is a unique skill set. You can have a great team with great players, but having finishers, getting them to finish, is always the biggest challenge.”
The Broncos faced a challenge in the visiting Spartans (5-4-2), who entered the match with the fourth-most goals in the division and a talented striker in junior Joe Deberardis, and while Burrillville’s ‘D’ kept close tabs on Deberardis throughout the game, they were unable to prevent sophomore Chris Fortier from tying the contest with 15 minutes to play in the match.
Fortier was able to score on a partial breakaway after taking a pass from senior captain John Sherman and slipping the ball past sweeper Kamil Strama. Once he found himself alone with goalkeeper Colin Powers, Fortier tapped the ball to the right of Powers and into the twines. It was only the ninth goal allowed by Burrillville this season.
“Scituate played a very good offensive strategy,” said LaFauci. “They played a great cross ball in and they attacked well. I told my players at halftime, ‘We’re strong defensively, but they’ll beat you on the one breakdown,’ and that’s what happened. They didn’t just get lucky with that goal, they had a strong attack. You miss one thing and they put it away.”
That was the only blemish on an excellent performance by the Broncos’ defense, which saw Fortier finish with eight saves (three in the final 10 minutes), and Strama and Daniel Munoz also come up with a fair share of stellar plays.
The Broncos’ goal came with 10 minutes left in the first half off the foot of sophomore Zach Lamoureaux, who was set up nicely by Cody Lavallee and Devin Macedo for his fifth goal of the season.
Prior to Fortier’s equalizer, the Broncos nearly doubled their lead on some solid scoring opportunities by Tom Libby and Lavallee, but those bids came up short and were stopped by goalie Domenic Dell’Oro, who also ended up with eight stops.
“That’s what we’re going to continue to work on, getting that finish,” said LaFauci.
The Broncos are back in action on Friday with a 5 p.m. contest in Pawtucket against two-win St. Raphael Academy, but then the schedule gets tougher. Their following three games are against Tiverton (which is tied for sixth place with Scituate), fourth-place Warwick Vets, and undefeated West Warwick.
“There is a lot of good teams in our league,” noted LaFauci. “The one thing that’s great about the league this year is that the top nine teams are all very good and all of them can beat each other.”
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24