WOOD RIVER JCT.—Last season the Chariho boys soccer team left plenty of points in the standings on the field and Monday the Chargers (1-1-2 Division I) left two after settling for a 2-2 tie with Hope (2-0-1 D-I)
“We let two points slip towards the end because we had a lot of opportunities,” Chariho coach Tyler Hartshorn said. “The fitness factor kind of came in for us and we just didn’t put them away.”
Rather than a criticism though, it is more a testament to where the Chargers have come in a year as last season’s game against the Blue Wave is a perfect example.
“Last year up at Hope we got out 2-0 within 20 minutes on them and then they came back. At halftime we were down 3-2 and they just finished from there,” Hartshorn said. “I think we finished 5-2 or 6-2, something around there.”
Monday’s game followed the same exact script initially as junior Corey Zegarzewski banged in a corner kick off a Hope defender in the eighth minute and Jacob Desrosiers knocked home a loose ball from 18 yards out off another corner in the 21st to give Chariho a 2-0 advantage.
As it was in Providence a year ago, the Blue Wave surged back Monday and cut the deficit in half after Hope’s Brayan DaSilva eventually put home a rebound in the 33rd after a number of saves from Chariho keeper Gus Almeida and Chargers’ defense.
The score appeared to be destined to stay the same heading into halftime until Hope’s Komia Dogbey fired an uncontested shot from 25 yards out that tucked just inside the corner of the net with less than 90 seconds left until intermission.
“They’re a very good shooting team as you saw from that second goal that they had,” Hartshorn said. “They can fire from there and we talked about guarding everything inside the 40 and making sure we don’t let those shots go off.”
What once seemed like an assured Chariho victory soon began to look like a definite loss as the Blue Wave came out of the break with a number of promising opportunities to break the tie.
“In the beginning of the second half we were hurting for the first 15 minutes,” Hartshorn said. “We were kind of lucky to get through those first 15 minutes with the chances that they had.”
The Chargers endured though and only got stronger as the game went on.
After nearly slew of strong promises went unfulfilled Chariho appeared to have finally gotten the goal it had sought for the better part of the half with less than one minute remaining in the game.
Thanks to a red card picked up by a Hope player with seven minutes remaining, the Chargers enjoyed a man advantage down the stretch.
As the red numbers on the clock glared – frozen at two minutes – Chariho drew a corner kick and quickly sent the ball into the box from right to left.
A number of Chargers tried to get a foot on it before Steve LeBier finally did and the ball appeared to squirt in between the legs of Hope keeper Dave Belony.
“It looked like it was through,” Hartshorn said. “He made this like backwards save and fell on it. It was a great save.”
No sooner than did Hope put the ball back in play the official sounded his whistle three times yet while there was some disappointment in earning just a single point in the standings, there was also encouragement based on how the Chargers finished the game in comparison to last season.
“Mental toughness is really there. We have 15 seniors on the team too, that’s huge, compared to the five seniors we had last year,” Hartshorn said. “They’re physically tougher this year too. They push each other around in practice more and from that we play harder.
“When we talk about second half or the last 10 minutes we feel like we have the edge because of the fitness that we do during our training.”
The Chargers continued to show promising signs – albeit in a 2-0 loss – to undefeated Barrington (4-0-0 Division I) Tuesday.
Chariho will be back in action today at 6:30 p.m. when they host Hendricken and will wrap the week up with a non-league contest Saturday at noon against Division II Westerly.