(VIDEO) Nobles Earns Big Win Over Gov’s

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By Nate Weitzer @nweitzer7

BYFIELD, Mass. — With no postseason in the Independent School League, every game has a bit of playoff atmosphere.

Wednesday’s meeting between No. 5 Noble & Greenough and No. 6 Governor’s Academy was no different, as both teams traded blows down the stretch before the Bulldogs emerged with an 11-10 victory thanks in part to the clutch play of sophomore Will Zink.

Nobles (13-3, 10-2 ISL) took an early 4-1 lead and broke open a 7-3 advantage with three quick strikes at the beginning of the third quarter, but Governor’s Academy (10-5, 9-3) wasn’t going anywhere.

Led by stellar efforts from junior attack Zach Ludd (two goals, two assists), midfielder Brendan Jordan (two goals, two assists) and Ben Murtagh (two goals, one assist), the hosts stormed back to make it 8-8 early in the fourth quarter.

While a young Nobles team could have folded in that spot, Zink (four goals) stepped up and called his own number, as he wrapped around from X for a clutch goal that looked to put Nobles in control with a 10-9 lead and 4 minutes remaining.

But after a Governor’s timeout, the young man dubbed the “quarterback” of the offense by head coach Tim Winslow made his move, as Ludd scored on a beautiful feed from Harrison Gray to make it 10-10 with just 42 seconds to play.

Yet once again, Zink came up huge, scoring 17 seconds left on the clock on a great pass from junior attack Hayden Cheek to put Nobles up for good.

“You don’t want to get too high when you’re up or too low when you’re down. Just stay neutral and fight back,” Zink said. “I just wanted to take my time and get the right shot.”

Cheek played a key role early on by drawing the defense, as Governor’s looked to face guard the Wellesley native and take him out of the game.

That opened things up for Dover native Thomas Bono, who capitalized by sprinting straight to the cage for two goals as part of a 4-0 run from Nobles in the first half.

“We kind of expected that coming in,” Bono said about the defensive strategy. “We lost [star middie] Nick Loring before the game so we knew their primary target would be Hayden, so we tried to react to that and use that to our advantage by creating some space with the guys that were locking him off.”

The hosts fought back with a goal from Murtagh just before haltime to make it 4-3 at the break and eventually went on a 5-1 run to tie the game after falling into a 7-3 hole in the third.

“We tend to put ourselves in a hole and we were down three starters today,” said Winslow. “Some of our leaders made some bad decisions out there and didn’t play to their character. Defensively, for the most part, a lot of our guys played well but some guys didn’t show up today.”

This win secures a spot in third place for Nobles behind Belmont Hill and St. Sebastian’s for now, and represents a huge victory in what has been an extremely competitive ISL season.

“Anything can happen in this league,” said Nobles head coach Matt Rowley. “You have to approach every game like it’s a championship game and that’s what we do. This keeps us in the conversation and we’re in a good spot to stay in the mix and hope some things happen in our favor.”

Standout performer

While a FOGO is often an unsung hero, Nobles freshman John Dixon received plenty of praise for directly contributing towards the victory. In his second year as the Bulldogs primary FOGO, he won 14 of 23 faceoffs to help Nobles dominate possession, as they went on runs of 4 and 3 unanswered goals to open their lead.

“We know as long as we have the ball we’re going to be able to create looks offensively,” Rowley said. “We had a little lull, but we rebounded nicely and [Dixon] played a of a game- great performance by him.”

 

Offensive Statistics  

Noble & Greenough

Will Zink – 4 Goals

Hayden Cheek – 1 Goal, 2 assists

Thomas Bono – 3 goals

Colin Mahoney – 2 Goals, 1 assist

Jeff Dziama – 1 Goal, 1 assist

Chase McKee – 1 assist

 

Governor’s Academy

Brendan Jordan – 2 Goals, 2 assists

Zach Ludd – 2 Goals, 2 assists

Ben Murtagh – 2 Goals, 1 assist

CJ Baroni – 2 Goals, 1 assist

Harrison Gray – 1 Goal, 2 Assists

Griffin Harris – 1 Goal

 

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