Fall sports

Greenwich boys soccer team comes back to beat Brien McMahon in season-opener

Photo by David Fierro: Marco Tishler of Greenwich battles Yerson Villalobos of Brien McMahon for the ball during the season-opening game for both teams on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 at Greenwich High School.

Greenwich held a significant advantage in shots on goal against Brien McMahon during Friday’s season-opening boys soccer game, but the Senators had the all-important edge on the scoreboard well into the second half.

Yet wins against Greenwich at Cardinal Stadium and victories in general, have been hard to come by the past several years and the Cardinals weren’t about to start their season with a loss.

Isaac Dumeny and Andrew Lowitt made sure the Cardinals didn’t.

Dumeny, a senior, scored two goals and senior captain Andrew Lowitt tallied off a penalty kick to lead Greenwich to a hard-fought 3-2 win.

“I think we showed glimpses of what we are capable of,” Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam said. “When we move the ball quickly, we can be a dangerous team. But then we showed some lack of discipline. We had four yellow cards, so that’s a costly win.”

Facing a 2-1 deficit, the Cardinals evened the score, courtesy of Dumeny’s second goal of the game. Controlling a cross from senior captain Alejandro Rodriguez, Dumeny got a nice touch off the pass and finished from close range, tying the score at 2-2.

“It was a very intense game,” said Dumeny, a forward with a lot of speed. “I can still feel the energy vibrating in m. The the second half, some goals were scored and we were down 2-1, so that last part of the game we knew we had to come back.”

Photo by David Fierro: Maximo Acosta of Greenwich, left, moves the ball along the sideline vs. Brien McMahon.

With the score knotted at 2-2, the Cardinals drew a penalty kick with 3:23 remaining in the second half. Lowitt, one of Greenwich’s four captains, took the penalty kick and calmly booted it past McMahon junior goalie Matthew Vera inside the left post.

“I knew when I was walking up to take the kick that I was going to score,” said Lowitt, a midfielder. “Tied at 2-2, it was a big moment, but I felt comfortable.”

The Senators (0-1) had a pair of set pieces during the final two minutes of action, drawing a corner kick and free kick, but the Cards closed out the game.

“When you play Greenwich, which was one of the champions last year, you are up 2-1 in their house, you’re happy,” Brien McMahon coach Rodrigo Guzman said. “I think the last two goals we gave up was on us. We just didn’t execute the way we are supposed to execute, which means, we have to keep them in front of us.”

Greenwich senior captain Alejandro Rodrigues moves the ball down the sideline during the season-opener.

Following a scoreless first half that saw Vera make numerous saves for the Senators, the Cardinals tallied the game’s first goal in the 50th minute, capitalizing on a set piece. Rising up for a header, Dumeny scored, giving the Cards a 1-0 edge.

“The ball came through the middle and it hit off somebody and I just stuck my head in there,” said Dumeny, who applied pressure on McMahon’s defenders throughout.

Rodriguez came close to scoring, but hit the post with a shot, then Vera made several more saves to keep the score 1-0. After McMahon tied the score at 1-1 with a goal in the 58th minute, the visitors took the lead when senior forward Yerson Villalobos scored off a breakaway. Finding himself in a 1-on-1 situation with Cardinals senior goalie Julian Colin, Villalobos finished his chance, making it 2-1.

Vera made 14 saves for the Senators, who faced a lot of pressure from the Cardinals late in the second half.

“Our team has a lot of new varsity players and there were a lot of nerves out there today,” said Greenwich defender/senior captain Jake Hugh-Jones, who helped pace the squad’s defensive effort. “We can do a better job of containing our emotions. But I think a lot of people stepped up, we are trying a new formation. That was the best McMahon team I’ve seen. They played well and it was definitely not an easy game.”

Greenwich’s Jake Hugh-Jones gets ready to pass the ball to a teammate against Brien McMahon.

Added Lowitt: “It was pretty shaky, but I think we talked during halftime and improved on the stuff we need to work on.”

Colin made five saves in goal for Greenwich, which received aggressive play throughout from junior Lucas Luzuriaga and Rodriguez. Up next for the Cardinals is a road matchup against Ludlowe on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“To come back the way we did, we showed a lot of personality and character and grit,” Putnam said. “There were a lot of things that we did well, the bitter pill is the four yellow cards we had. McMahon is a good team, they are going to be there and get wins. They’ll be in the playoffs, that is a good side.”

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