Bryan Brasil, Brendan Bzdel connect to lift Hampshire boys soccer past South Hadley
Bryan Brasil, second from left, of Hampshire Regional, celebrates his goal against South Hadley by throwing kisses beside Brendan Bzdel, from left, Colin Dearborn and Alex Kubosiak Wednesday at Hampshire.
Hieu Dennis, right, of South Hadley, passes as David Labrie, of Hampshire Regional, approaches Wednesday at Hampshire. Tom Shea of South Hadley looks on.
Tom Shea, right, of South Hadley, passes as Bryan Brasil, of Hampshire Regional, approaches Wednesday at Hampshire.
Zach Simon, top, of South Hadley, heads the ball beside teammates Alex Dragon, from left, Cam Della-Torre and Chris Zuchowski during a game against Hampshire Regional Wednesday at Hampshire.
Alex Kubosiak, front, of Hampshire Regional, passes against South Hadley Wednesday at Hampshire.
Zach Simon, left, of South Hadley, passes ahead of David Labrie, of Hampshire Regional, Wednesday at Hampshire.JERREY ROBERTS
David Labrie, left, of Hampshire Regional, and Liam Medina, of South Hadley, battle for the ball Wednesday at Hampshire.
Bryan Brasil, of Hampshire Regional, center, moves the ball beside South Hadley defenders Tom Shea, left, and Cam Della-Torre Wednesday at Hampshire.
Colin Dearborn, left, of Hampshire Regional, passes while defended by Cam Della-Torre, of South Hadley, Wednesday at Hampshire.
Cam Della-Torre, right, of South Hadley, moves the ball against Kevin Brasil, of Hampshire Regional, Wednesday at Hampshire.
Brendan Bzdel, left, of Hampshire Regional, heads the ball toward the goal beside South Hadley defenders Zach Simon, second from left, and Cam Della-Torre, center, Wednesday at Hampshire. Bryan Brasil, of Hampshire Regional, right, looks on.
Bryan Brasil, left, of Hampshire Regional, shoots while defended by Hieu Dennis, of South Hadley, Wednesday at Hampshire. Alex Kubosiak looks on.
WESTHAMPTON — The killer Bs connected once and it was enough for the Hampshire Regional boys soccer team Wednesday.
Bryan Brasil scored off an assist by Brendan Bzdel in the 11th minute and the Raiders rolled past South Hadley 2-0 victory at Mike Dorunda Field.
“Bryan is an exciting player,” Hampshire coach Dan Moynahan said of his junior forward. “He’s been creating a lot of offense for us and Brendan Bzdel has been on the other side of that most times, too.”
Alex Kubosiak added the insurance goal late in the second half, as Hampshire improved to 2-0-2 (2-0-2 Holley).
“South Hadley usually comes out really strong,” Bzdel said. “Coach (Jij) Mercer is a great coach and I have some buddies on that team. But we’ve had a good start to the season and we knew we needed to keep it going.”
Bzdel ensured the good start when he won a race for a through ball down the right side and heard Brasil call for the ball on the near post.
“I knew he was there,” Bzdel said. “We work on that a lot in practice, communicating and talking to each other.”
Brasil took possession in traffic and found a small opening to blast the ball into the top of the net.
“Bryan is really good with his footwork,” Bzdel said. “He took his time and just slotted it upper corner. It was all on his balance I guess.”
The duo controlled play for much of the match and it led to countless scoring chances.
The best one came on a counter attack off an unsuccessful South Hadley corner. Brasil exploded out of the defensive half and beat the defense with the ball downfield. He took a touch past charging goalkeeper Christian Zukowski (11 saves), but South Hadley’s Cam Della-Torre caught up after a long run and slid in front just in time to make the save.
Tigers coach Jij Mercer, meanwhile, pressed his team to step up with an intense halftime discussion.
“We’ve been taking some steps forward and in the first half I didn’t think we were continuing that way,” he said. “We were a little flat coming out. But the second half I thought was much better. I thought we created some opportunities and played some good soccer. But we have a long way to go.”
Raiders goalkeeper Ben Preston made four saves for his second shutout of the season.
Hampshire kept the pressure on through most of the contest and finally cashed in when Kubosiak took possession at the 18, made a fake to his left to create room, took a touch to the right and blasted a goal inside the left post in the 77th minute.
Still, Moynahan felt his team had a lot of work to do, especially in the passing game.
“We just weren’t moving off the ball, so we didn’t connect on our passes,” he said.
He later added, “It’s a work in progress. I felt better about it before this game. ... We got away from our tactics today. ... We lost our composure at times.”
Jim Pignatiello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.