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Lakers shock Green Giants in Division III boys’ soccer tournament

  • Inter-Lakes’ Alex Losada gathers a bouncing ball while Brady’s Tyler Aubin looks on during Division III tournament action at NHTI on Thursday. Inter-Lakes upset Bishop Brady in penalty kicks. NICK STOICO / Monitor staff

  • Brady’s Tyler Aubin runs up to battle Inter-Lakes’ Nathan Manville (17) and Quinn Taylor (10) for the ball during Division III tournament action at NHTI on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. NICK STOICO / Monitor staff

  • Brady’s Matteo Ticli meets teammate Kyle Rowalski (21) at the ball during Division III tournament action at NHTI on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. NICK STOICO / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/28/2016 12:01:48 AM

CONCORD – This time last year, Hunter Sanders was taking practice reps with the Inter-Lakes football team. On Thursday, he was between the posts for the boys’ soccer team and shut down Bishop Brady, the fourth-ranked team in Division III, despite being peppered by shots for 100 minutes.

He didn’t let one in until penalty kicks, where he stopped two shots out of six to give the 13th-ranked Lakers a 1-0 upset win over Brady in the second round of the Division III tournament at NHTI.

“I just wanted to win another 80 minutes for the seniors this year,” said Sanders, a sophomore. “Those guys really inspired me this season. They all work so hard.”

Sanders was the inspiration for the Lakers (7-8-2) on Thursday. Brady came in boasting a 13-3 regular-season record, including a 2-1 win in September over the Lakers’ quarterfinal opponent Hopkinton. Brady’s fiery offense scored five goals in five of their 18 regular season games.

But on a cold and wet Thursday afternoon at NHTI, Brady’s attack came up empty despite controlling most of the game in the Lakers’ end. Their passes were located well, sending the ball up the field to players moving into position, ready to take it straight to the net. But attack after attack was snuffed out by either Sanders or a defender.

“We put a lot of pressure on him,” Brady Coach Mike Ling said. “He’s probably without question their savior, their man of the match for today. He kept them in it.”

After playing 80 minutes of scoreless soccer, Inter-Lakes had two close calls near their net in overtime. The first came midway through the first 10-minute frame of overtime when a Brady shot was sent in from the edge of the box, bounced off Sanders and a few other players before nearly rolling over the goal line. Sanders lunged for it as two Brady attackers slipped through the mud and couldn’t get a foot on the ball to poke it in.

In the second overtime, Brady had another solid look, this time on a hard shot from about 15 yards out. Sanders dove to his left and got a finger on the ball to redirect it away from trouble.

“A couple of times, we had some wide open chances and then we just couldn’t execute and finish,” Ling said. “(Sanders) had some stellar saves, without question. … If you keep someone hanging around long enough and don’t put the game away early enough as we could’ve or should’ve, it comes back to bite you and it bit us this time.”

Sanders stopped 15 shots, while the Inter-Lakes attack could only muster five. The Lakers didn’t test Brady goalie Bryce Johnson until 15 minutes into the game.

“I don’t know how many shots Bishop Brady had but they had too many, they had a ton,” Inter-Lakes Coach Dan Curnyn said. “You don’t go 13-3 on a fluke. … That’s tough to lose in the (second) round, but that’s a really, really solid team. For us, this is probably one of the biggest wins in Inter-Lakes boys’ soccer program history.”

Brady’s Anthony Wright, Colin Plante, Jacob Yanksi, Angelo Besho and Manish Giri scored in PKs. Matt Duffield scored the final PK for Inter-Lakes before Sanders sealed it with a save on a shot from Brady’s Matthew Quirk. Nathan Sleeper, Brenan Moynihan, Quinn Taylor, Logan Taylor and Nathan Manville also netted PK goals for Inter-Lakes.

No. 5 Hopkinton will host the Lakers on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Nine games into the tournament, Inter-Lakes is the only team in Division III to knock off a higher seed.

“If you were going to tell us that we would come down here and beat a top-four team, not only hold them for 80 minutes but another two overtime periods and then the shootout, which is hectic because you don’t want to be the first one to miss,” Curnyn said. “I knew coming in we were going to battle, we were going to compete, we weren’t worried about who the team was. The regular season doesn’t matter now because everybody is 0-0.”

Curnyn coached Sanders in baseball last spring and got in his ear to try out for soccer in the fall. Sanders had an idea how to man the pipes from his experience as a hockey goalie.

“He stepped right up,” Curnyn said. “He’s put in a ton of work. This was by far our best game as a team and this is the best game he’s ever had. And it couldn’t have happened at a bigger time.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3339, or on Twitter @NickStoico.)

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