In the first ever Northeast Soccer Jamboree, Berkshire traveled to Mass Youth Soccer's Citizen's Bank Soccer Complex at Progin Park to take on ISL power Lawrence Academy. One of sixteen teams playing on the day, Berkshire looked to have a good day and showcase its best in front of the 100+ college coaches on hand. However, the Bears knew they would be in for a very tough match, against a very complete and dangerous Lawrence Academy team.
The match did not begin well for the Bears, as an early and agressive tackle on Justin Donawa '15 left him injured and unable to play the rest of the day. Lawrence capitalized by finding an early goal off the same wing that Donawa had just vacated. A missed mark led to the goal, and Berkshire faced an early 0-1 deficit. However, the Bears turned the match around and began to assert themselves with nice possession and a number of dangerous attempts on goal. However, the Bears were unable to crack through in the first 45 minutes. At halftime, the Bears trailed 0-1.
Knowing a quick start would be important in the second half, Berkshire came out red hot and scored six minutes into the half. It was newcomer Mutaya Mwape '16 who received a pass from Jack Harrison '15 on the break. Mwape skillfully beat his man and angled into the goal where he proceeded to slot a shot into the side netting. Level at 1-1 both teams battled for control in the midfield, knowing that the next goal could be the winner. Midway through the half, Berkshire found the next again when Mutaya Mwape '16 turned the corned on his defender and picked out a streaking Austin Zaepfel '14 who beat his man to the cross and hit a perfect one-time ball into the back of the net.
Up 2-1, Berkshire was in control and continually fending off the pressure from Lawrence. Nate Summers '14, Stephen DePietto '15, Kevin O'Neill '14, and Matty Wieczorek '14 did well to keep Lawrence off the board. Bryan Gerstenfeld '14 was solid in net and commanded his box well.
A Lawrence player was sent off with 12 minutes to play after picking up a second yellow card, but Lawrence was determined and competed extra hard with the setback. In the final two minutes of play, Lawrence was able to crack through when a great combination play saw their star forward slip through just a stride ahead of Berkshire pursuing defender. A slotted shot to the corner was enough to level the game at 2-2.
Disappointing for the Bears who had the match in hand, but credit to Lawrence for a determined effort and a great game of soccer. It was a great day of soccer for all the teams, and the college coaches on hand thoroughly enjoyed the day and were impressed by the quality of play from all the teams present.
Up next, Berkshire hosts Kent School in an exciting rematch of last year's New England Class A Semifinal. Both teams enter the match unbeaten.
Watch highlights here.