WOBURN — Pentucket entered Saturday’s Division 2 North semifinal red hot, surging to its best tournament run in more than a decade.
Unfortunately for the Sachems, a trip to the finals was not in the cards.
The Pentucket defense struggled for the first time this year, and the top-seeded Sachems allowed four goals in the first 38 minutes to fall to Concord Carlisle 4-0.
This marked the Sachems’ best tournament run since advancing to the Division 3 North semifinals in 2000.
“We didn’t start with fire like we usually did,” senior back Will Craig said.
Pentucket didn’t allow its fourth goal this fall until its 11th game. It surrendered just nine goals all regular season and none during its first two playoff games.
The Sachems entered yesterday on a seven-game winning streak during which they outscored their opponents 20-3.
“Even though I knew that they move the ball quickly, it was quicker than what I even expected,” Pentucket coach Christian Langlois said about Concord-Carlisle. “And a lot of times, the boys were caught a little bit flat-footed. This is definitely the best team we’ve seen all year.”
Concord-Carlisle scored just 5 minutes, 56 seconds into the game when Stowe Simonton headed in a corner kick.
“Getting down that early goal puts the pressure on you and then we’re not playing relaxed,” Langlois said. “And we’re not passing around the ball the way we normally do.”
Pentucket fell behind 2-0 less than 7:00 later on Wyatt Powell’s goal. Langlois immediately called a timeout to make some adjustments defensively.
“We needed to make sure we weren’t watching the ball and that we were staying with the guys after they made a pass because they’d always make a run off it,” Langlois said. “And then I said, ‘Hey, let’s forget the score. Let’s just try to play well.’ And that’s what we tried to do even all the way to the end. I applaud them for it because you know it’s the last game and we just kept playing.”
Pentucket finished its season 16-3-2.
The program has been much improved the past two years. Its win over Lynn Classical in last year’s tournament as the No. 8-seed marked Pentucket’s first playoff victory since 2006.
The Sachems, however, will lose experience from this year’s team as 10 of the 22 players were seniors. Additionally, nine of the 10 seniors were starters.
But keeper Cody Sedler is just a sophomore. And despite a tough game yesterday, he posted 12 shutouts this season, including an 11-save performance in a 1-0 victory over North Andover on Sept. 29.
“He was the best keeper, I thought, in our league,” Langlois said. “So no matter how the rest of the team ends up next year, that’s going to help us tremendously.”