Rockets run stopped in state final

Pictured in the South semifinals against Silver Lake, Nathan Goldberg (5) moves the ball up the field. Photos by Mike Flanagan

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

After capturing the South title the previous weekend with a 5-2 victory against Brockton, the Needham High School varsity boys soccer team took out North champ Lincoln-Sudbury, 2-1, in overtime of the state semifinals in thrilling fashion to earn a trip to Worcester for Saturday’s state final contest against Central/West champ Longmeadow.

Unfortunately, the long playoff run ended in heartbreak for the Rockets, who fell, 2-0, to the Lancers.

In the 29th minute, Longmeadow struck first with a goal off of transition by Andrew Healy to claim a 1-0 lead for the Lancers. Needham was awarded a series of opportunities to tie the game in the final 10 minutes of the half. Matt Dougherty nearly brought the Rockets even with a boot from the top of the box, but the shot sailed just wide of the far right post. Longmeadow’s defense bent, but didn’t break in the final minutes of the first half. The Lancers carried their one-goal lead into halftime.

With 13:26 left to play, Andrew Ortiz buried a feed at the far post to put the Lancers ahead by a pair. Longmeadow’s defense was able to prevent Needham from generating offense in the game’s final minutes, and the Lancers took home the state title by a 2-0 final.

For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.

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