Northmen are flying high
Decelles scores to send Northmen to title game
North Smithfield heads to boys’ soccer title game
JOHNSTON — An early Justin Decelles goal was the difference in No. 1 North Smithfield’s 1-0 victory over No. 4 Chariho Thursday night’s Division II semifinal at Mayor Joseph Polisena Stadium.
The goal came at 28:04 in the first half, and with the wild action and assortment of shots that were to come, it was remarkable that it was the only goal.
Even before that, the Northmen put their first threatening shot wide in the first two minutes of play. The defenses would settle in though, as near misses and fine saves were traded for 80 minutes.
“It was just a beautiful pass,” Decelles said of the only goal. “I just wanted to run through it. The keeper ran out and made a beautiful save. Luckily, it ricocheted off my body and over the keeper. I just kept going and hit it in.”
The victory was a bit sweeter for North Smithfield (15-1-1), considering they got a win over one of only two teams they hadn’t beaten previously this season. The Chargers tied them 1-1 on October 19.
“At the same, time,” North Smithfield head coach Eric Korytkowski said. “They were one of the only teams not out for revenge, so we thought we could take advantage of that. We knew it was going to be a battle; it was a battle last time we played them.”
“We just needed to finish our opportunities,” Korytkowski said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t really finish our opportunities, but we had just enough.”
Chariho senior keeper Cameron Anderson made six saves and pretty much each one was spectacular.
“He was unbelievable,” Korytkowski said. “He kept them in that game. We had some shots that we’ve scored on multiple times this season, and the stops he was making were great. I played goalie all my life, I was a Westerly kid, and the saves that kid was making were unbelievable.”
“I don’t think I would have felt good with a four-goal lead against Chariho,” Ko- rytkowski said of the constant tension with the close calls. “I coach basketball too, and basketball games are a lot less stressful. This is just 80 minutes of tension; I think I aged 50 years this year alone.”
While Anderson and the Charger defense were making miracles in front of their net, Chariho’s offense was finding it hard to get many attempts on the Northmen side. After going down 1-0, they had a sequence where they connected fine passes up along the left wing but couldn’t complete the attempt.
The Chargers amped up their attack late in the second half, solidified by the wall in their net preventing the Northmen from creating a larger deficit. They increased their presence in the Northmen zone, but their fast attack often seemed out of control once they reached shooting range.
“I’ll tell you what,” Korytkowski said. “It’s a hell of a task to lock up the Jessop boys [midfielders Dylan and Devan] and Ryan Allen up front. They’re fantastic, so for my defense to shut them out is just an unbelievable effort.”
“We worked hard on our rotations,” Korytkowski continued. “We missed them a couple times, but we always fought back and recovered very well.”
North Smithfield junior forward Kyle Alves (15) attempts to take a shot, while Chariho’s Nate Pepler (7) blocks his effort in the first half of the No. 1 Northmen’s 1-0 victory in the Division II semifinals Thursday night at Johnston High.
North Smithfield senior Justin Decelles (4, above) slides the ball into the net for the only goal in the No. 1 Northmen’s 1-0 victory over Chariho in the Division II semifinals Thursday night.