WALPOLE – No. More. Games.
The Concord-Carlisle boys soccer team completed its 2023 season by winning the program’s sixth state championship with a 2-0 win over Needham Saturday night at Walpole High School.
This was the Patriots first title in Division One. The previous five were in Division Two, with the last one coming six years ago in 2017.
Needham had not allowed a goal in the first four games in the tournament, but that streak came to end when six and a half minutes into the game, senior captain Sean Fernandez-Davila scored on a header that beat Needham goalkeeper Max Glazer to his left. The play started with a long throw in by senior Harry Nerrow to in front of the goal. Senior captain Brady Poor headed the ball backwards and Fernandez-Davila had moved into the open space in the center of the box and was able to put the ball into the goal.
“I started on the back post, saw the open space in the middle of the box and was able to get there at the right time,” said Fernandez-Davila describing his score.
When asked about the difference scoring early made, C-C head coach Ray Pavlik said, “It was big for us to score early.” “We didn’t have to worry about playing from behind.” Playing from behind is something the Patriots have not done since the first game of the season.
Both teams had chances throughout the first half but neither the Rockets or the Patriots could convert. Both defenses and goalkeepers made the plays to stop the other team from scoring.
Concord-Carlisle finally got the insurance goal they had been trying for in the 66th minute. Poor took a free kick from the top corner of the goal and put a beautiful shot into the far corner of the net for the 2-0 lead.
“I saw the goalkeeper was playing too far to his left, so I aimed for the far side of the goal,” said Poor.
The remainder of the second half both had scoring opportunities, but could not convert. For Needham it was a night of shots going just or over the goal and through the football goalposts. When a Rockets player did get close, he was usually surrounded by two or three Patriots defenders. At other times C-C’s defense formed a wall in front of the goal denying Needham any chance of scoring.
“Senior captain goalkeeper Ben Wasserman attributed the strong defensive play to his teammates “great individual abilities, but also their bond as a unit and strong communications.”
Coach Pavlik added, “The defenders communicate well and they trust each other and work well together.”
For Pavlik in his 22nd season in leading the boys’ soccer program at Concord-Carlisle this is the sixth time one of his teams has won the state championship. He completed the season with a career record of 323-71-55.
“I am so proud of this team and happy for them,” said Pavlik. “We knew we would be up against it tonight versus Needham.” “The players were incredible, they put together an amazing effort.”
Fernandez-Davila added, “This is a special team.” “It feels amazing to win.”
“This is pure joy,” said Poor.
Wasserman said, “This has been a long time coming.” “We started this journey our sophomore season.”
In 2021 the Patriots lost in the state semifinals to Newton North 1-0. In 2022 they lost to St. John’s Prep 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
This was the Patriots fifth 20-win season and matched the 2014 team, also state champions, for best record at 20-0-1. They also won 20 games (21-1-1) in the state championship season of 2010. C-C won state titles in 2009 (17-3-3) and in 2006 (18-2-3). The other 20-win seasons were in 2007 when they were 20-4-2 and in 1998 at 21-2-1.
Another successful soccer season has come to a close at Concord-Carlisle. As players, coaches, family and fans reflect on this state championship season, they will also be looking forward to what might be for next year.