by Matt DeAngelo
Every student at the high school knows that when the Brookline Superfans are in attendance at a sporting event, that game is significant. That was certainly the case last Friday when the Brookline Warriors kept the Walpole Rebels winless on the season with a 1-1 tie at Nickerson Field at Boston University. The Brookline faithful were up and chanting before the national anthem even began. They wanted a victory for their hometown soccer club.
Early in the contest, Walpole played aggressively, looking to run the ball up the field at all times and playing physically on defense. They were constantly denying Brookline’s attempts to set up its top forward, senior Elijah Elmore, in front of the net. The determination of Walpole eventually translated into a 1-0 lead for the Rebels as senior defenseman Ian Fair scored in the 12th minute of the first half.
Brookline, after being on the wrong side of quite a few turnovers and missed calls for a large portion of the opening half, began to get it together in the second half. The Warriors intensified their physical play, going after ball handlers, knocking them to the ground and doing whatever it took to get the ball back. There were still several attacks in which they failed to get the ball through Walpole’s defense and hot goaltender Devin Moore. But then in the 35th minute, senior Yoel Abulaf made a pass across the goalline to sophomore Marco Georgaklis, who was denied by a diving effort by Moore before senior John Elcock was able to put home the rebound for a 1-1 tie.
In the second half, the Rebels looked like they were ready to settle for a draw, but the Warriors were not satisfied. They knew that all their fans at the stadium showed up for a win; the players also wanted a victory. Although they were unable to score again, the Warriors played with a remarkable sense of urgency. Off every Walpole turnover, the first Brookline player with the ball gave it a big kick upfield, trying to hit a teammate in stride. Brookline hustled for loose balls and their forwards and midfielders tried to sprint with the ball down the field and beat the Walpole defense. The tremendous effort by the Warriors was acknowledged by the fans, who stormed onto the field and mobbed the players and each other after the conclusion of the game.