RHCD 2, Brimmer & May 1
Kobe P. – Man of the Match
On Sunday the Rocky Hill Country Day Mariners traveled to Loomis Chaffee and took home the NEPSAC Class D Championship! Facing a stubborn and defensively-minded Brimmer & May, RHCD dominated the initial run of play but were unable to finish. Several early opportunities went wanting, and as the Mariners honed in their threats, the Brimmer goalkeeper proved (with the help of his post) he was up for the challenge.
Rocky Hill thought they’d taken the lead through a deflection from senior Max L., only to see the referee call it back for a foul. Counter-attacking proved to be the biggest threat Rocky Hill would face, and despite senior captain Kobe P. and his back-line snuffing out the majority of threats, one first half chance beat keeper Drew T., only to ricochet off the post. The sophomore keeper was just able to get a hand to the rebound, deflecting it away from the Brimmer attacker who was poised to put it in.
The second half saw a determined Mariner team redouble their efforts, with the midfield beginning to win the all-important second balls, helping RHCD to regain control of the match. The break-through finally came when senior captain Andrew Z. was able to get around the defense on the left flank. He squared the ball to junior Marlon M., who deftly slid a pass to Andrew F., well-positioned in front of a goal. The sophomore made no mistake, slotting and home to give the Mariners the lead. Later in the half, Rocky Hill would double the lead when Zito found Monterroso at the edge of the box. The junior darted past his defender and slammed home his effort, setting off a wild celebration. Brimmer wasn’t dead yet though, and with less than ten minutes remaining a well-struck shot from distance got over the head of Tamburini, halving the deficit. The Mariners stayed poised though, defending well and winning some timely free kicks that helped run down the clock. When the final whistle sounded, Rocky Hill could celebrate their first NEPSAC championship since 2011. Congratulations boys!
Man Of the Match: Kobe P.
As he has been all season, Kobe was the difference maker in the back. With Rocky Hill dominating possession and pushing their fullbacks forward, Kobe and his center-back partner Bennett F. were tasked with defending a lot of space and often isolated in one-on-one situations. They proved they were up to the task, covering in behind their fullbacks and constantly stepping up to win balls in the middle of the field. Kobe in particular put in a commanding performance, dominating the back and using his pace, excellent positioning, and timing to erase threats before they could happen. On the rare occasion Brimmer was able to get into the defensive third, Kobe kept the defense organized. On the ball he was calm and collected, picking out feet in the midfield and helping to keep possession and start the attack. His growth as a soccer player over the last few years has been amazing, and Rocky Hill couldn’t have won it without him.