Boys soccer scratches out two ties during competitive week on pitch, faces Saugus next

The Marblehead High boys soccer team faced a tough slate of opponents — Beverly, Swampscott and Danvers — in just its second week of the season. They ended up going 0-1-2 during this stretch of games.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, the Panthers came to town for the first of two matchups this fall. At the outset, Beverly played an aggressive style of soccer at a heightened pace.

Rory Zampese CAPTION: Marblehead boys soccer goalie Rory Zampese is shown leaping to make a save during a recent game, with a coach looking on. COURTESY PHOTO / RICH BIBBINS

But the Magicians struck first on a nifty, spinning high ball by captain Jack Burke. Later in the first half, forward James Achterhof displayed his strength in getting through not one, not two, but three Swampscott defenders, before releasing a shot. In a near collision, however, the Beverly goalie still managed to make the save to keep the game close. But nonetheless, Achterhof’s efforts put the Panthers on notice that this game was not going to be easy.

There were many numerous changes of possession for the remainder of the first half, but Beverly was still able to convert on a direct kick to tie up the proceedings at one just before halftime. The second half was scoreless, giving each side a well-earned, hard-fought point in the Northeastern Conference (NEC) standings.

On Monday, Sept. 11, the Magicians traveled to Swampscott to face a much-improved Big Blue squad.

Swampscott scored early on, catching the Marblehead defense off guard with a long bouncing strike from 20 yards out.

On defense, Swampscott was relentless in its pursuit of the ball, while they played a high tempo game on offense. They notched another goal in the first half to lead, 2-0.

But then, Marblehead came alive and created several opportunities to close the gap. Forwards Kyle Hart and David Magan challenged the Big Blue defense, before midfielder Luke Miller redirected a long spinning ball by London McDonald that would have hit the back of the net if not for the brilliant diving effort of the Swampscott goalie.

Marblehead goalie Rory Zampese kept the game close with his own diving save of a direct kick by Jack Raymond.

The Marblehead boys were able to consistently bring the ball downfield in the second half, but ultimately were unable to score. The Big Blue ended up winning the game, 3-0.

The Marblehead boys then took on host Danvers under the lights amid a steady drizzle on Sept. 13.

The visitors were able to control possession throughout most of the game, showing the many fans who were in attendance, despite the rainy conditions, on how well they could open up the field with a controlled, sustained attack.

In keeping the ball on the ground most of the time, Marblehead was able to put together dominant downfield runs to set up the strikers for high percentage shots. As fate would have it, the Falcons were able to capitalize on only a handful of set plays and a breakaway run to keep the game close.

Jared Halpern scored the first Marblehead goal on a sweet corner kick from fellow midfielder Ilan Druker. A beautiful Halpern-to-Burke combination then tied the game up at two in the waning minutes that secured a point for their efforts.

After facing Peabody at home Monday, Sept. 18, they will be at Saugus to go up against the Sachems on Sept. 20, beginning at 4 p.m. They will then hook up with non-league host Andover on Saturday, Sept. 23, starting at 1 p.m.

Joe McConnell | + posts

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