Huskies lose double overtime heartbreaker to East Greenwich, 1-0, in Division II championship

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 11/23/20

Members of the Mt. Hope soccer team fell to the ground in pain and exhaustion after they suffered a heart breaking lost in double overtime to East Greenwich, 1-0, in the Division II Championship at …

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Huskies lose double overtime heartbreaker to East Greenwich, 1-0, in Division II championship

Posted

Members of the Mt. Hope soccer team fell to the ground in pain and exhaustion after they suffered a heart breaking lost in double overtime to East Greenwich, 1-0, in the Division II Championship at Johnston High School on Saturday evening.

“Obviously, going into double overtime and losing the state finals isn’t a good feeling. It sucks” said senior co-captain Ben DiChiaparri after the game. “I’m proud of my teammates,” he said in his next breath. “I’m proud of every single one of them. They gave it everything they had and they know. And I can walk away, knowing that I gave it everything that I had. And that means the world to me…And I’m proud of what we’ve done.”

East Greenwich senior forward Andrew Mega scored the winning goal for the Avengers, sending a looping header over the outstretched arm of Huskies goalkeeper Matt Terceiro (10 saves), to give the Avengers a 1-0 lead with under 3 minutes left in the second overtime period.

Avengers senior midfielder Ethan Fain assisted on the goal, hooking a crossing pass to Mega, who was standing 5 yards out from the right goalpost. Mega vaulted over a Huskies defender and deflected the pass over Terceiro for the only goal of the game.

“There was no saving that shot,” said DiChiaparri. “That was a helluva shot.”

“One team’s got to lose. Unfortunately today, it was us,” said Huskies head coach Alex Couto. “This hurts. But, I’d go to war with my team any day. I’m very, very proud of them.”

Brilliant defense

Senior defenders Ben DiChiappari, Matt Milhomens and Alex Enes played brilliantly in front of Terceiro and limited the Avengers scoring chances by contesting nearly every shot. Terceiro and company successfully defended 10 Avengers corner kicks. The most dangerous landed in front of the goal mouth, but the Avengers couldn’t capitalize on it and senior midfielder Tristan Tamulaites booted it out of the box. “He’s an animal,” DiChiappari said of his co-captain Tamulaites. “We call him Tarzan, because he’s a freak of nature,” he said of his teammate’s skills on the field. “He’s a beast and I cannot wait to see him play in college.”

Terceiro sprang over the scrum in front of the goal mouth, to grab another Avengers’ corner in the second half. The quick, sinewy keeper is always in good position to make saves. “Matt’s been the hero of our team,” said DiChiappari. “The fact that we are even here today, is because of him.”

“Matt’s special,” coach Couto said. “During the semi’s he saved three PK’s. Tonight his hands were unbelievable. He was catching everything up until the goal.”

Lost opportunities

The Huskies offense outshot the Avengers, 19-15, and had several good opportunities to score in regulation, but they couldn’t boot one past Avengers senior goalkeeper Carter Andrews (14 saves). Mt. Hope also had a lot of trouble with Avengers twin 6-footers Aydin Kocak and Luke Pedro.

“He’s a special player,” coach Couto said of Kocak. “He’s going to go somewere.”

Early in the first half, junior midfielder Chad Parente sent a 30 foot direct kick from the left sideline towards the Avengers box. Tamulaites vaulted over the crowd and violently headed the ball over leaping Avengers goalkeeper Carter Andrews, but the ball flew too high and cleared the top of the goal. The Huskies only had three corner kicks and It was the only time that the pair hooked up on a play.

Shortly after Tamulaites let loose a blast that was headed for the top right corner of the goal. He dribbled down the middle of the field uncovered and rocketed the kick, but Andrews sprang-up and tipped the ball over the net for a Huskies corner kick. Parente made a perfect kick to the middle of the box where midfielders Nick Andreozzi, Dylan Araujo, Furtado and Tamulaites were ready to pounce. But Andrews again saved the day. The senior jumped into the pack and seized the ball before Tamulaites could get his head on it. The Avengers made sure not to leave Tamulaites single-covered again.

In the second half, Huskies junior midfielder Jayden Terra dribbled down the left sideline and sent a crossing pass towards the middle of the box. Andrews eyeing Noah Furtado rushing in, dove for the ball. It bounced off the keeper's chest as Furtado hopped over him. Furtado couldn’t recover in time to pounce on the ball sitting alone in front of the goal mouth. Avengers defender Kevin Cianciolo reached the ball first and booted it out. The tall gangly Furtado played his usual gritty game, attempting to fight his way through defenders, but East Greenwich had the even taller and equally tough, senior backfielder, Aydin Kocak, cover him and it limited his scoring chances during the game.

“Noah scored 8 goals this shortened season. Coaches defend him. He’s fast, he’s going to play,” said coach Couto. “I’m going to give credit to their coaching staff,” he said. “(Kocak) played big, physical.” But Noah doesn’t give up. He still got his chances.”

Terra also had a good chance to score in regulation. Andreozzi raced down the left sideline and lofted a crossing pass towards the box. Terra fought through a pair of defenders, and headed the ball towards the goal. But Andrews was there to make the save once again.

Postgame

As the Avengers celebrated their victory, the Huskies fell to the ground in physical and mental exhaustion. Mt. Hope beat Pilgrim in a triple overtime shootout to win a semifinals game 1-1, 3-0 on Thursday night and had to battle through two more overtime periods on Saturday. Terceiro fell to the ground like most of his teammates and lay on his back looking up at the sky. Tamulaites dribbled a game ball over near Terceiro and launched a kick out of bounds. Andrews and some of his fellow teammates came over to shake hands with the keeper and Matt Milhomens. DiChiaparri and Tamuliates humbly accepted the D-II runners-up plaque during a brief ceremony after the game. They stood solemnly, DiChiaparri put a hand on Tamulaites as they watched East Greenwich accept the first place plaque.

End of season

Mt. Hope ended their 2020 covid-shortened season with a 7-4 record. The soccer team will graduate eight seniors in the Spring. “It’s going to be tough,” said coach Couto about a possible return to the state finals. “We have to replace Tristan and Ben in the backfield. Two all-state selections. The senior class should be proud. I’m very, very proud of what they’ve done.”

“I wish all of them the best of luck,” said DiChiaparri to all of his teammates.

Still coach Couto believes that the team could return next year with ten juniors and a solid core of players coming back.

“We’re excited for next year. And we’ll be back hopefully,” coach Couto said.

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