By Joyce Erekson
The St. Mary’s boys soccer team is a step closer to hanging a state championship banner on the walls of the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium following a 2-0 win over Catholic Central League foe Archbishop Williams in the Division 4 Eastern Mass Championship game played Tuesday at Manning Field.
The Spartans, who haven’t gotten past the North final since 1988, will play Monson for the state title and they can thank senior Dan Hennessey, who scored both Spartan goals, for his role in getting them there.
The Spartans split with the Bishops during the regular season with the loss coming at Manning Field. Hennessey was recovering from a broken cheekbone at the time, so the Bishops didn’t get to see him in action. He proved to be a game-changer.
“He was the player of the game and Kevin (Esper) controlled the middle of the field,” St. Mary’s coach Mike D’Agostino said.
Hennessey scored what would be the game-winner less than three minutes into the second half. Hennessy beat a defender on the right sided, spun around and launched a shot that found the far side of the net. The second goal came with 3:04 left in the game. Thiago DeOliveira got off a shot that the Archbishop Williams goalie initially stopped, but the rebound came out and Hennessey was there to boot in the rebound.
The Spartans earned a trip to the Division 4 state semifinals courtesy of a 2-0 win over Boston International Saturday at Manning Field.
St. Mary’s got all the scoring it would need 27 minutes into the game when Chris Garcia collected a pass from Kevin Esper. Garcia sailed the shot over the head of Boston International goalie Helder DePina for a 1-0 St. Mary’s lead. Senior forward Dan Hennessey nailed down the win with a goal with two minutes left in the game.
Boston International had a couple of good bids, including a shot that hit the crossbar late in the game, but St. Mary’s keeper Richard Mateo hung tough for the shutout. He faced six shots.
St. Mary’s was the No. 3 seed in Division 4 North. Boston International was the top seed. The Spartans had a first round bye before meeting up with Mystic Valley in the Division 4 North quarterfinals. St. Mary’s won 4-2, advancing the team to the semifinals where they played Catholic Central League rival Bishop Fenwick and won 2-1 in overtime.