Boys fall to Chariho in soccer semi-finals
Starting out as the seventh seed in the Division I boys’ soccer playoffs gave the North Kingstown High School boys’ soccer team nowhere to go but up.
After pulling off a major upset by defeating second-seed and defending state champions Barrington, 2-1, in the quarterfinal match last Thursday night, the Skippers had to tackle Chariho on Tuesday night to make it to the state championship game.
“The kids played very well in the game against Barrington,” Coach Kyle Froberg said. “I knew that if we didn’t let them score in the first half, we would have a chance.”
The Skippers not only held the Eagles scoreless in the first half, they were the first ones on the scoreboard when senior Andy Hess scored just 30 seconds into the second half to give N.K. the 1-0 lead.
“Barrington started to panic when they got down,” Froberg said. “They were doing things like kicking the ball out of bounds when there wasn’t even another player nearby.”
Hess gave the Skippers a little breathing room, and a 2-0 lead, on a goal with 12:30 remaining in the game. “He was running at a full sprint and chipped the ball on the keeper. That is very hard to do,” Froberg said.
Barrington scored off of a header during a throw-in with nine minutes left to get the Eagles within one, but were unable to penetrate the Skippers’ defense to get the tying goal.
“We had chances to score two more goals,” Froberg said. “One on a shot by Hess and another on a breakaway by Martin Salazar that went over the goal.”
Joe Haley and Chris Hess handled duties up the middle for the Skippers in the absence of Jamestowner Sam Baines.
“We missed Sam’s long throwins and the way he really calms everyone down,” Froberg said. “But, Joe and Chris really neutralized one of their best players.”
The Skippers also pulled off the win without one of their leading scorers. Striker Troy Crawford is sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken hand.
Froberg expected that the key to a win over Chariho would be containing All-American Nick Dubee.
“He is so dominating in the air, on the ground, with the ball. He is just that good. We just can’t let him have the ball and we have a chance,” Froberg said before the game.
North lost both of its regular season games to Chariho, 5-1 and 4-1, respectively.
But, Froberg said, the team wasn’t concentrating on that going into Tuesday’s game. “You throw out all records when you go into the playoffs,” he said.
With the team coming off an emotional victory on Thursday and with the teams playing on a neutral field, Froberg liked his chances.
“We know Andy plays well on field turf and Martin Salazar does amazing things with the ball,” Froberg said before the game.
Unfortunately, the Skippers were a crossbar away from tying the game against the Chargers and sending Tuesday’s game into overtime. North’s Andy Hess scored the Skippers’ lone goal, and the Chariho keeper tipped a hard shot by Rob Bowman just over the crossbar to give the Chargers the 2-1 win.
“I was pleased with how well we played. Our intensity was good and the kids played really well,” Froberg said. “We became a different team in the playoffs. Our kids absolutely had the confidence that we were going to go all the way to the finals.”
Froberg said that although he is losing 11 seniors this year, he has a strong junior class and even a few standout freshmen and sophomores who will keep the Skippers in the playoff hunt next year.