North­men are fly­ing high

De­celles scores to send North­men to ti­tle game

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE - By PA­TRICK BURKE Con­tribut­ing writer

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.”

Photo by Ernest A. Brown

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.

Pho­tos by Ernest A. Brown

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.

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