Bishop Stang boys soccer christened new turf with program’s first playoff win in a decade
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Bishop Stang Soccer
DARTMOUTH — It was a historic night for Bishop Stang and its boys soccer team.
Playing the first game on the new turf at Hugh Carney Stadium, the No. 28 Spartans put on quite a show, beating 37th-seeded Monty Tech 8-2 in a Div. 3 preliminary for the program’s first playoff win in at least a decade.
“Honestly there is no greater feeling than right now,” said Bishop Stang junior Carter Dennis. “We won. It was the first game on the turf and the first win in states for Stang in like 10 years; there are no words to describe it.”
Bishop Stang head coach Nate Greene agreed, “It was perfect. It was a perfect night. It was really fun. A lot of these kids and myself, we’ll never play in front of that many people with Div. 3 high school soccer, but to get the chance was exciting. There was so much excitement. There was so much excitement in school because everybody wanted to be out here and see it.” Puff bar
In Greene’s four years, the Spartans have made the playoffs every year except for last year because there was no tournament because of COVID, but Stang had struggled with lopsided opening losses to Medway and Norton. The Spartans were determined for a different outcome on Thursday.
“Our biggest motivation is you’re never going to get a better opportunity than this,” Greene said. “All of this extra stuff should give us a lift and it definitely did.
“I feel like we really played well, but do I feel like we’re necessarily six goals better than them? I don’t know, but we played as good as we’ve played all season. It was awesome. Everybody was fired up.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Monty Tech struck first when senior Isiac Paulino’s booming shot found the top corner of the net for a 1-0 advantage in the seventh minute.
Stang responded less than four minutes later when senior Trent Morris scored off a cross from Dennis to tie the game at one. The Spartans quickly made it 3-1 when senior Pedro Conceicao headed in Dennis’ corner kick and then freshman Ben Tingley-Prince scored on a rebound.
“We don’t score headers. We had one header all year,” Greene said. “He’s the type of kid in this environment, he goes to another level. He always goes up for corners because he’s good in the air. You don’t have to worry about him in the big moment. He gets fired up.”
Conceicao added, “Carter crossed it in and I just went up and met it. It’s a lot of focusing on the ball with two eyes and heading it. I just looked up, took a step back and hit it with all I had and it just went in today.”
After Paulino scored his second goal of the game to pull Monty Tech within 3-2, Tingley-Prince gave the Spartans some breathing room with his second goal of the game.
“He’s great,” Greene said. “We’re lucky to have him. He’s a freshman and it didn’t take him any time to get up to speed. He never comes off the field.
“He’s been so solid. He always wins the ball. He makes something happen. He’s fun to watch.”
With under two minutes left in the first half, Conceicao, a defender, scored his second goal of the game and then Dennis added a goal to give Stang a commanding 6-2 halftime lead.
“It felt nice to put two in the back of the net, but my main focus is to try and help the team doing anything I can do,” Conceicao said. “This is what we wanted. We wanted to play on the turf since day one. The fact that we were able to get a game out here, the stands were packed, everyone was screaming, I got a little chills in the beginning. We were awesome tonight and the fans were awesome too.”
Stang put the game out of reach early in the second half as Dennis scored back-to-back goals for the hat trick. He also dished out four assists.
“Our formation is a four, five, one so he’s basically on an island totally isolated up top,” Greene said. “It’s kind of been that way for three years. It’s difficult because you have to go sideline to sideline and he runs down this channel and he runs down that channel. We ask a lot of him.
“Today especially he had some space down the flanks and he took advantage of it and turned the corner a couple of times and he’s just really smart. He knows exactly what to do. He’s not selfish. He played a couple of balls across perfectly. More than anything he worked really hard and that’s why he had so much success tonight.”
Dennis now has 18 goals and 15 assists on the season.
“I’m a striker and the goal is to score,” said Dennis. “But I’ve been playing left wing and middie for (my) club (team Liverpool) so assists come more naturally sometimes.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Bishop Stang, which rebounded after a 1-4 start, captured its 11th win in 14 games and the program’s first playoff victory in at least a decade. The Spartans (12-7) visit fifth-seeded Cardinal Spellman (15-0-3) on Saturday (time TBD) in the first round. Stang lost both of its Catholic Central League games to the unbeaten Cardinals this year, but played them tough. “We know this team and we know we can compete with them because we’ve done it for 100 minutes this season,” Greene said. “We know we can give them a game. They say it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season.”
SOUTHCOAST VARSITY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Dennis had a hand in seven of Stang’s eight goals with three goals and four assists.
GREENE ON GOALIE CHRIS PACHECO: “He’s had to fill Declan (Markey’s) shoes and he’s done a really good job, especially in the second half of the season. He’s gotten more and more confident.”
DENNIS ON THE TEAM’S TURNAROUND THIS SEASON AFTER A SLOW START: “Once we got going against one team, we kept building and getting better. We started working together more, connecting more passes.”
STATS: Dennis led Stang with three goals and four assists while Conceicao and Tingley-Prince each scored two and Morris had a goal. Pacheco made 10 saves with seven coming in the second half. For Monty Tech, senior Zach Robillard had 11 saves.