Division 4 boys soccer: Gateway takes down Smith Academy
Calvin Dowers and the Gateway Regional boys soccer team are picking the right time to get hot.
Dowers had two assists as the fourth-seeded Gators beat No. 5 Smith Academy 2-0 Monday in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament quarterfinal round in Huntington.
Dowers has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last four games, all Gateway (14-4-2) wins.
“He’s become a very good team player and played the best game of his career tonight,” Gateway coach Tim Gamble said. “He’s definitely grown.”
Gateway (14-4-2) will play No. 1 Hopkins (17-1-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Northampton.
Nick McClafflin scored the first goal at the 19-minute, 30-second mark of the first half. Josh Baillargeon added the second goal at 32:30.
“We usually like to grind it out,” Gamble said. “This is the third time we played them and every game was close. Smith Academy came back to tie (1-1) the first time and we won (1-0) on a penalty kick there. The third time was going to be tight.”
Gateway goalie Mike Arel made eight saves for the shutout. With 14 minutes left, Arel pushed a high shot over the crossbar. The keeper also stepped two shots off restarts from 22-yards out.
The Gators defense did a good job on Falcons scorer Derek McMahon, who had 17 goals and eight assists during the regular season.
“He’s a real threat,” Gamble said. “We didn’t do anything special but we played a defensive scheme that’s been working for us. We’ve been working on it diligently and it worked tonight.”
Cam Woodward made six saves, while Keith Natale played well in defeat.
“We had to battle tonight and they gave us everything to handle,” Gamble said.
It was the final game for Smith Academy seniors Harry Kennedy, Sam Boas, Izak Ung, Natale, Woodward and McMahon.