Rebels Edge Natick, 1-0


Rebels prepare for their battle with Natick. (Photo/Russell Ollis)

Jake Moser

Rebels prepare for their battle with Natick. (Photo/Russ Ollis)

After starting off the season with a 3-1 win over Braintree, the boys’ soccer team bested the Natick Red and Blue by a score of 1-0 last Friday afternoon in Natick.

A breakaway goal in the 3rd minute by senior forward Connor Murtaugh put the Rebels ahead.  Murtaugh has really come into his own this year, scoring an impressive three goals in the first two games.  Murtaugh struggled to find playing time on last year’s team, which dominated the Bay State League and eventually finished in first place.

Apparently this year, Murtaugh set out to dominate his position, not only on the Walpole roster, but the entire league.  When asked what he did to prepare for his senior season, Murtaugh said “I just worked extremely hard on all my skills so I could help out the team in a big way this year.”

After Murtaugh’s goal, the Rebels set out to expand their lead further.  Later in the half, senior captain Tim Sullivan had a promising scoring opportunity—but unfortunately he couldn’t convert on the chance.  The Rebels had several more opportunities throughout the game, but one goal was all the they could muster.

On the defensive side, the Rebel defenders, led by junior captain Nolan Murray and senior captain Matt Lavanchy, shut down the Natick counter-attack on almost every possession.  Even on the rare occasion where a Red and Blue forward snuck through the Walpole defense, senior goalkeeper Giorgio Sarkis was there to deny them the satisfaction of a goal.  Sarkis came through in the clutch toward the end of the game, when a Natick forward had a breakaway.  Giorgio came out of the net and made a spectacular sliding save to preserve Walpole’s narrow lead.

In the end the Rebels were able to hang on to their one goal lead, and improve their record to 2-0.  They look to their next opponent, Newton North on Tuesday at Bird Middle School at 3:45.  The Rebels expect a good game from an opponent who competes year in and year out.  “Newton North is a good team, and we need to come out fired up and ready to go from the start”, said Murray.  After Newton North, Walpole looks to a talented Wellesley team in Wellesley on Thursaday.  Wellesley is always a contender for the BSL, along with Walpole, so this match is especially important.  According to Coach Lee Delaney though, Walpole is going to take it “one game at a time.”