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Boys' Soccer - Varsity
vs.
The Berkshire School
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Win 1-0
In the quarter-final round of the New England Class A Tournament, The third-seeded Taft Rhinos hosted the sixth-seeded Berkshire Bears in a highly anticipated rematch of the regular season contest won by Berkshire. Even frigid temperatures and icy winds could not prevent spectators from both schools from showing up to watch this exciting match unfold. Throughout the first half, both teams attacked with speed and intensity, but each time the defenses stood firm. Seniors Jordan Miller and Ethan Hindle worked hard to contain Berkshire’s talented strikers, as James Donaldson and Benas Babenskas won countless battles in the midfield. Despite the fact that each team created a fair number of chances in the first forty-five minutes, the match remained goalless at halftime. In the second half, Sammed Bawa and KK Baffour began to look increasingly dangerous, while Oury Diane made a considerable impact after coming on as a substitute. Mid-way through the second half, Berkshire cut through the Taft defense and one of their midfielders unleashed a shot that appeared destined for the back of the net. In spectacular fashion, Chris Murphy dove to his left and got just a fingertip on the ball. The slight touch was enough to deflect the ball off the crossbar, keeping the match level. Late in the game, Oury Diane, after a skillful touch inside Berkshire’s penalty area, was chopped down resulting in a penalty kick. Sammed Bawa stepped up to take the spot kick but pulled the shot just wide. Momentum seemed to be shifting in Berkshire’s favor, but that was brought to a screeching halt only a minute later. In the 80th minute, KK Baffour collected a Berkshire goal kick at midfield. After slipping past two Berkshire defenders, he curled the ball past the goalkeeper and inside the far post igniting a huge celebration from the Taft supporters. Though Berkshire pressed relentlessly in search of the equalizer, The Big Red held on for a thrilling 1-0 victory. The win pushed Taft’s record to 16-1-1 on the season, and earned the team a spot in the semi-finals against Worcester Academy.