The Berwick Boys Varsity Soccer team opened their 2021 campaign with a shutout victory over Maine rival Hebron Academy, on Saturday, September 11. Following an inspirational rendition of the national anthem sung by a faculty member on the 20th anniversary of the attacks on our country, the Bulldogs came out energized against a very strong opponent. Looking to capitalize early, co-captains Tyler Hall and Mitchel Varley combined on an 3rd minute attempt on goal when Hall headed a Varley cross into the Hebron goalie Ivan Ovadia’s hands. Two minutes later, Hall took a corner that landed on Julian Vanderpool’s foot, which he volleyed just wide. The teams went back and forth, with neither carrying the majority of the play, for the next 15 minutes of a tight contest. In the 30th minute, Hall took a short corner to Varley at the near post, who slid one across the goal mouth only to have the Ovadia goalie gobble it up with a diving save. Three minutes later, Hebron countered with a strong effort on net, but Berwick netminder Owen Kenney was equal to the task with perfect positioning on the play and an easy save. With only three minutes remaining in the half, Berwick saw its best chances of the opening frame when Varley attacked the net with a point blank shot that Ovadia scared away, but into the waiting foot of Hall, who also drilled one that Ovadia knocked away.
The teams emerged from the halftime huddle ready for more back and forth, and it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to take control. In the 51st minute, senior midfielder Peter Wojdak won two contested balls in a row 25 yards outs, and sent it over to Hall at the top right corner of the penalty area and drilled a one-time right footed blast past Ovadia to open the scoring on the season. With the lead and some energy, Varley nearly broke through again on the near post a few minutes later but Ovadia was able to keep the deficit to one. In the 57th minute, Kenney has his biggest test of the afternoon when Javi Urien came in alone, forcing the Berwick goalie to dive and keep the shutout alive. In the 62 minute, Varley took a Hebron goal kick off his chest and drove the return from 30 yards out just over the cross bar. In the 77th minute, Hebron again tried to equalize but their set piece sailed just over the bar. In the 85th minute, Connor Carmody hit a long cross to Varley, who was able to finish the score and seal the game with a 16 yard drive to the upper left hand corner.
Berwick is 1-0-0 on the season welcomes Bancroft to Maine on Saturday.
Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves.