Northmen second half goals sink Huskies in the semifinals

Aggressive match becomes combative as North Smithfield's defense frustrates Mt. Hope

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr. 
Posted 11/13/21

North Smithfield scores two second half goals to beat Mt. Hope, 2-1, in a Division II home game at Roger Dietz Field on Wednesday night. The Huskies finish their season with a record of 12-3-4. The …

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Northmen second half goals sink Huskies in the semifinals

Aggressive match becomes combative as North Smithfield's defense frustrates Mt. Hope


North Smithfield scored two second half goals to beat Mt. Hope, 2-1, in the Division II semifinals at Roger Dietz Field on Wednesday night. The Huskies finished their season with a record of, 12-3-4. The championship has eluded the Huskies the last three years during head coach Alex Couto’s tenure, having finished in the quarterfinals, finals and now semifinals. “I couldn’t be more proud of our players,” said head coach Alex Couto. “That was only our second loss in the division. Unfortunately it had to happen in the state semis.” 

Mt. Hope started off the game well after freshman Maddox Canario gave the Huskies an early, 1-0, lead. After a Northman infraction at about the 30-yard mark on the right side of the field, Huskies senior midfielder Chad Parente launched a direct kick toward the left post where Canario was standing uncovered. The talented winger headed the ball into the left corner of the goal by North Smithfield keeper Sam Beauchemin and the home crowd erupted. “Maddox was the best player on the field,” said Coach Couto. “To see a freshman to do that for these seniors as a coach, it means the world to you.” 

Huskies striker Noah Furtado had a good chance to extend the lead when Beauchemin bobbled a kick on goal, but the senior ran by him.  Mt. Hope carried the slim lead into halftime, but the North Smithfield defense stiffened as they double and some times triple teamed Furtado and put timely shots on senior goalkeeper Matt Terceiro who made six saves during the match.  “Matt’s been all division since I have coached here. He’s a warrior. He’s going to be tough to replace,” said Coach Couto.  


Northmen score two in the second half

The aggressive match became combative with most of the calls going the way of North Smithfield in the second half. “They are a tough team. We knew that coming in,” said Coach Couto. “I said to the team at halftime, this is going to be the toughest forty minutes of your lives. You need to respond.”

Terceiro did respond, by making a brilliant save five minutes into the half. Terceiro leaped and flicked the ball out of the goal with his hand from a Northmen kick, five yards out. After the save he screamed at the team to wake the Huskies from their slumber.  

Minutes later, North Smithfield forward Aidan Bienvenue dribbled down the left side and into the box. Huskies center back Jack McNally rushed over and kicked the ball out of bounds as the two player collided. The Northman forward flapped his gums and pushed the defenseman. McNally took a swipe at him. The referee saw it, gave the center back a yellow card and awarded North Smithfield a penalty kick, since the infraction occurred in the box.  “Unfortunately we fouled early in the second half,” said Coach Couto. “The PK switched the momentum of the game.”

Northmen center back Cameron Reynolds lined up to take the penalty kick and he beat Terceiro with a blast to the top right corner of the goal to tie the score, 1-1.  “Matt got a good read on it, but it was struck well,” said Coach Couto. 

Another bad blow for the Huskies came when their field general, senior midfielder Nick Andreozzi, reinjured his leg and fell to the ground in front of the Northmen bench. Andreozzi began to crawl to the Huskies bench when time was called.  “We are a different team when Nick is on the field,” said Coach Couto. “Every time we lose him, our game drops a little bit. He’s got torn ligaments and torn tendons in there. For him to play these last two games. He left it all out on the field.” 

Andreozzi’s replacement senior Zach Avila, also was injured. Avila leapt to head a goal kick at midfield and was plowed into by a Northmen midfielder. The senior fell to the ground in pain and had to be carried off the field by a Huskies assistant coach. “Zach wanted to go back in, but he was throbbing with pain. It’s just who these kids are.”

North Smithfield scored their second goal after another Huskies violation. The Northmen were awarded a direct kick from 25 yards out on the left side of the goal. Mt. Hope made a wall in front of Terceiro. Northmen midfielder Holden Tousignant kicked a beautiful shot over the wall and into the top right corner of the goal to give North Smithfield a, 2-1, lead.  Terceiro time his jump a little late and the ball just made it over the top of his outstretched hands. “I think Matt couldn’t see from behind the wall,” said Coach Couto. “The ball also had some movement on it. He had a good read, then it started to bend and tail the other way. To win a game like this, that’s what you need. It comes down to a free kick and they score with 15 minutes left. It’s tough to come back from.”

Northman coach Eric Korytkowski then made a strategic move to saturate the backfield with defenders. The frustrated Huskies had great difficulty working through the sea of defenders and grew more irritated as the game wore on.  With under five minutes to play Mt. Hope’s desperation boiled over. Senior forward Dylan Brol was tripped in the box and fell flat on his face. The defender  fell on top of Brol and rolled over the top of the senior. Infuriated, Brol came up swinging and a melee ensued. Players on both sides rushed towards the fracas. In the end, the referee penalized Huskies midfielder Justin Mendes with a red card and Northman midfielder Estevan Reyes drew a yellow. Both for fighting. “Unfortunately there was a little scrum which I hate to talk about and see,” said Coach Couto. “It came from the heat of the moment of the game. We’ll deal with the consequences of that as the league sees fit.” Coach Couto commended the referee for trying to control the game and doing a great job. “There could have been more to it. I’m glad it didn’t get out of hand,” said Coach Couto. “It was more pushing and shoving than punches thrown.”

The game ended moments later. North Smithfield celebrated as the Huskies walked off the field with their shirts over their heads. Their terrific season was over. “We didn’t bring the work ethic today,” said Coach Couto. “When you play a team like that. They are going to make you pay for it. I have a lot of respect for Coach Eric and their program. Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose. Today we were on the wrong end of it.” 


Good news for Huskies soccer fans. Coach Couto confirmed that he will be back for a fourth season. “I want to put at least another two or three years into this. I can’t just leave when things are good. You got to go through the rebuild and do it the right way.”




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