Berkshire was on the road again, and the opponent this time was Kent School who has started the season very well with a 3-0-0 unbeaten record. On paper it looked to be a great match-up, as Bears also entered the match unbeaten with a record of 3-0-1. The match did indeed prove to be very competitive as anticipated. The field itself - bumpy and with lots of grassless portions of the field - made it hard for any possession. This seemed to suit Kent as they looked to play direct throughout much of the match, but it took Berkshire a while to find their game on the field. Lots of odd bounces on the surface led to lots of turnovers for both teams, especially in the middle where there were some attempts at building possession. Kent's high pressure and ultra aggressive style of play led to lots of physical confrontations, which again detracted from the play. There were 17 fouls called against the home side and there were certainly a few more that should have been called. Berkshire was happy to walk away from the field without any serious injuries. On top of that, the game had to be stopped twice for the home team's fans who were crowding the far side line and taunting Berkshire's players throughout the match.
Early in the match, Zeiko Lewis '13 almost gave the Bears the early lead with a great strike that beat the keeper but ricocheted off the cross bar. As the game progressed, Berkshire enjoyed a bit more possession while Kent threatened with its direct style of play. As play shifted back and forth with both teams proved to be dangerous in the attacking end and well organized defensively. The score was 0-0 at halftime. The second half remained quite similar to the first but both teams pushed hard to find the what looked to be a pivotal go-ahead goal. It was Berkshire who found that goal, and it came in the 75th minute when Zeiko Lewis '13 was taken down on the outside of the box. On the free kick, Lewis '13 curved the ball around the wall and across the face of the goal. Nate Summers '14 who had pushed forward from center back timed his run perfectly and hammered in what proved to be the winning goal. Berkshire almost scored again with just minutes to play when Tony Amolo '13 pressed on Kent's center back, won the ball, and broke to goal. However, Kent's keeper who was impressive all day made a spectacular breakaway save.
It was an inspiring effort by the Bears as they not only had to deal with tough playing conditions but also some very hard challenges throughout the match - many of which were not accounted for by the officials. The Bears did not respond or allow the overall experience to throw them off their game, and their focus and ability to stick to their game plan paid off in the end as the Bears walked away victorious. There were lots of players who stepped up for the Bears today on both ends of the field. The back four of Justin Donawa '15, Brandon Allen '13, Nate Summers '15, and Noah Sinkoff '13, defensive midfielder Tanner Tomasi '13, and keeper Bryan Gerstenfeld '14 held up strong to the constant aerial assaults by the home side. Kent's fast and talented strikers tested Berkshire's back line and keeper all day long, but the Bears stood strong and earned an impressive shutout. It was Kent's first loss of the season and the first time they have been shutout. Through the middle, Echeverria '13, Cosman '13, and Harrison '15 did a good job of settling the play and connecting the ball forward to Lewis '13 and Amolo '13 who were dangerous all day long.
Berkshire tallied 13 shots on the day while the home side produced 9 of its own, but solid defense by both sides proved to keep it a one-goal day. Kent is a talented team and they played with great determination from start to finish, so the Bears are very happy to have claimed the important win on the road today. With the win, the Bears improve to 4-0-1 on the season. Up next the Bears host Williston on Saturday at 2:00 PM.
Click here to see a game highlight video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtHdj2yaI1I
Click here to see the Berkshire Boys Soccer YouTube channel with links to other game highlights: http://www.youtube.com/user/BerkshireSoccer1?feature=watch