The Berwick Academy Boys Varsity Soccer team took on a strong squad from EIL rival Beaver Country Day School on Saturday, the final match in a day-long celebration of Blue and White Alumni weekend for the Bulldog athletic teams. Trying to match the girls’ soccer and field hockey teams who shutout Beaver earlier in the afternoon on the turf field, the boys’ side came out strong and ready to defend their home field in front of a raucous student section and alums of all ages. Beaver always trots out a strong squad, and this year is no different as they played skilled and physical soccer for 80 minutes. The teams tested each other out modestly in the first 20 minutes of the opening frame, with neither side dominating although Berwick did not find much room to play in their offensive third. It wasn’t until the mid-point of the half that either side could generate much in the way of foray into the opposing backfield: in the 25th minute, co-captain Mitchel Varley took a set piece that he lasered along the goal line that came up empty. Two minutes later, Ollie Van Campen set a long ball to co-captain Tyler Hall down the left flank. The Beaver defender tried to play it to his keeper, but Hall was one move ahead and intercepted the pass. Hall moved in alone on net and drove it low, forcing the keeper to make a nice save while leaving a backspinning rebound that Varley headed to the back of the net to open the scoring on the day. The teams continued to trade long attempts on net, but neither side was able to generate a dangerous chance for the rest of the half.
The teams emerged from the halftime huddle resolved to raise their level of play, which both sides did. Only two minutes in, Beaver announced their intention to keep the heat on the Bulldogs when their 20 yard direct kick clanged off the post, and an equally dangerous rebound sailed just wide to the right of Berwick keeper, Owen Kenney. In the 50th minute, Varley had another set piece along the goal line, which he drilled perfectly, knee-level across the six yard line, but his Bulldog teammates were not there to finish. In the 62nd minute, Varley found himself in the top right corner of the Beaver penalty area, and threaded a nifty back heel along 18 to Hall, who took care of the rest. Alone on the keeper, Hall showed good patience and ultimately slotted the ball along the turf to the lower left corner, doubling the Bulldog lead and inciting a frenzy amongst the student section. Moments later, with adrenaline and momentum well on their side, Berwick almost added to the tally when Alex Penfold hit a perfect chip to Varley, who laid it over to Van Campen, whose effort sailed just wide, leaving the final result at 2-0.
Berwick is 5-0-1 on the season and plays Bancroft in Worcester on Wednesday.
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.