With the end of the 2014 regular season in plain sight, veteran Pinkerton boys’ soccer coach Kerry Boles wanted more than anything to have his charges step into their matches last week and put forth strong, confidence-building performances.
With consecutive losses to Hanover and Exeter fresh in mind, the Astros headed to Keene on Tuesday, Oct. 21, to face an extremely tough Blackbirds’ team that had claimed 2-0 shutouts in each of its two previous matches, had won five of its last six games, and sat a notch above Pinkerton in the congested Division I standings.
Well, all Boles’ boys did was go out and put forth a superb performance in a 3-0 shutout win that enabled the Astros to make the lengthy drive home a happy one.
And also as a result of that outcome, both Pinkerton and Keene sat at 9-5-1 in their tough division.
“I can’t say enough about what this group did today,” said Boles. “We have struggled to score goals all year, and Keene had not allowed a goal on their home turf this season. To be able to not only score some goals but to walk away with a victory is absolutely amazing. I am so proud of the way these guys responded today.”
Kyle Hicks potted the only goal that the locals would end up needing on a set-up from Cole Perry in the 13th minute of play, and 1-0 was where the score stood at halftime.
But the academy crew added insurance markers in minutes 60 (Matt O’Brien from Colin Coutts) and 64 (Alex Ebner unassisted) to snag the fine, 3-0 win.
Goalie Hayden Pavao contributed five stops in what wound up being the Astros’ fifth shutout of 2014.
“It would have been easy to make excuses and not put in a genuine effort, but these guys fought for 80 minutes, worked together, and accomplished something that no one has done all year. This was a total team effort this afternoon,” said Boles of the battle in which his team blemished Keene’s scoreless home streak.
The Astro guys maintained their momentum by closing out their regular season last Friday, Oct. 24 in Derry with a 2-1 victory over a Nashua North team that was struggling mightily as the end of the campaign arrived.
The Titans ended the day with their fourth consecutive loss and the sixth in their last seven contests, while coach Boles and his boys began to contemplate who would be their first-round opponent prior to confirmation from the NHIAA at the start of this week.
This past Monday morning, the Astros learned that they’d gotten the seventh seed and would play host to number 10 Bedford in preliminary-round tourney play at PA on Wednesday, Oct. 28, after Nutfield News press time.