FRAMINGHAM – It was a great night for soccer at Bowditch Field on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the Flyers lost 1-0 to Ludlow High, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the MIAA Division I tournament.
It was a battle all night on the grass, until the 76th minute, when one errant pass cost the Flyers the game.
A Framingham defender did a back pass to the Flyers goalie, but miscommunication between the two, and the ball went into the net, giving Ludlow the game-winner.
Ludlow essentially one the game without scoring a goal.
“There was no mistake back there just a little miscommunication in a zero-zero game,” said Framingham High coach Jon Wood.
Framingham, the #7 seed, ends the season at 13-3-5, under head coach Dan Avery.
“It was just miscommunication,” said Coach Wood. “Those guys have carried us all year. They are allowed one mistake. It just came at the wrong time. Those guys have been so solid all year.”
The Flyers were down three players due to injury in last night’s game, including senior captain John Halpin and senior Niko Tsiantoulas.
Framingham High missed an entire soccer season in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tenth-seeded Ludlow, however, did have a 2020 season, and is now 13-2-6 this season.
“These guys have never been in the tournament,” said Coach Wood. “John Halpin is the only one who has played in a tournament game.”
And he didn’t get to play last night.
So everyone on the grass for the Flyers had just one playoff game for experience, the victory on Saturday night.
With the injuries, the Flyers “lost two guys right up the middle,” said Coach Wood.
“I thought we had the better play. I thought we should have won that game,” said Coach Wood.
The Flyers outshot the Ludlow Lions 11-3 in the game.
The Flyers had several opportunities in the first half, and several opportunities in the second half, but just could not get the ball into the back of the net.
One of the best opportunities the Flyers had was on an indirect kick, down 1-0 with an unknown amount of time left in the game.
“With an indirect kick you have to have two people touch it. We told them to just blast it. I think it hit the goal’s hand and then it hit the cross bar. Good save. I credit the goalie,” said Coach Wood.
“I thought Tyler Knox who filled in for him (Halpin) was unbelievable tonight,” said Coach Wood. “The best game he has played.”
Wood said he told Halpin, who wanted to play desperately in the game, that “you have great teammates who want to fill in for you and make you proud.”
Coach Wood said Halpin is going to be missed next season.
“Halpin is one of the best we have ever had. He’s definitely the best competitor we have ever had,” said Coach Wood. “He is the heart and soul of the team.”
Coming back next season will be two of the three tri-captains Jack Carney and Ben Sharon, as well as goaltender Tyler Ingham.
“We have a lot of players coming back next season,” said Coach Wood. “I expect great things from this team next season.”
“This was tough. When you lose an entire season, you don’t get that continuity. Next year, these guys will know what it feels like in the close ones, and they’ll be able to put the ball in the back of the net in the close games.”
Last night was the final game for senior Captain Halpin, but also the final game for Patrick McIrney, Kaio Viegas, Yuri Santos, Gui Mendes, Niko Tsiantoulas, Sam Deveau, and Bruno Kajiwara.
“It was a great season,” said Wood. “Just tough to finish like this.”
“We missed last season altogether, so great to be playing again this season; and we will be ever better next season,” said Wood.