WINDHAM — It took a while for the Windham boys’ soccer team to solve Bishop Guertin goalie Mike Boulbon, but the Jaguars did, then controlled the rest of the game en route to a 1-0 win.
The winner came in the 51st minute when Charlie Breen beat a flat-footed BG defense and went in on a breakaway and put the ball in with pace over a diving Boulbon.
“There was a foul and then my teammate Owen (Larouco) intercepted a free kick and sent me,” Breen said. “I outran them and finished it.”
The goal was the lone marker in a game that could have tipped much more heavily toward Windham. The Jaguars, in boosting their record to 3-0-1, outshot the Cardinals 24-2 and dominated possession throughout.
Boulbon kept BG (0-3) in the game, notching 11 saves, including several highlight stops.
“Their goalie played really well today,” Breen said. “He made some really good saves when we should have buried some. He did really well.”
The majority of the game was played in Windham’s attacking half, but the Jaguars maintained control from the back. This allowed the Jaguars to build up their attack in a measured way rather than playing a chaotic game.
Windham dialed it in in the final 40 minutes, scored the goal, and held off the Cardinals. The Jaguars generated eight corner kicks to one for the Cardinals.
“I think we dominated two thirds and had trouble in that final third (in the first half),” Windham coach Mike Hachey said. “The second half was more direct with a lot of chances. We scored on one of the uglier chances, I’d say.”
The Jaguar midfield and back line did what it had to do to stop the Guertin counter and keep the Cardinals from generating consistent possession.
Junior goalie Preston Neal led the Jaguar defense. Neal jumped high to pull down a free kick in the game’s final seconds that sealed the win for Windham.
“They stepped well,” Hachey said of his defensive unit. “They shut things down and communicated well. It starts in the back with Preston, our keeper. He may not have to make many saves, but he controls everything back there. I think we’ve steadily improved.”
With the defensive unit locking down its end of the field, Windham’s attacking core was able to try things with the ball and find holes in the Bishop Guertin back line. Junior midfielder Landon Neal had chances for the Jaguars as did a slew of other players.
“I think like any coach you’re just trying to exploit something and trying to run with what’s working for you that day,” Hachey said. “I think some of the players identified some of the aspects we could take advantage of.”