Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Postgame Blog: Shrewsbury Edges Nashoba in CMass Round One

Senior Cam Kerr scored two goals and dished out two assists for Shrewsbury.

By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

Here is your weekly reminder that this blog is simply my wandering thoughts on a few parts of the game. For a complete recap and video, head on over to BostonLax.Net, and for a game story, head to ESPN Boston.

Shrewsbury Prepared

To say that Shrewsbury was ready for Nashoba's zone defense would be an understatement. The Colonials sliced through the Chieftain zone with surgeon-like precision, and built a 7-1 lead before the Nashoba offense really even got going. Shrewsbury coach Nate Skermont said he knew the Chieftains ran a zone, and his guys felt comfortable after a few days of practicing against it.

Nashoba coach Kevin McNamara, to his credit, switched his team back to a man-to-man defense and held the Colonials off the board for around 12 minutes of game time in the third and fourth quarters.

"We knew they ran a zone, and we came in and I think tore that up pretty well," Shrewsbury's Luke Warner said. "They switched to man, and it took us some time to adjust, but I think we did pretty well."

No Quit in Nashoba

Down 7-1 on the road, it would be hard to fault Nashoba for packing it in, but senior Kyle Elkins dished out a quick assist, then added a goal of his own in the two minutes before halftime. Then, just eight seconds into the second half, he scored again.

The Chieftains followed their captain's lead and fought back to within two goals, when they trailed Shrewsbury 11-9 in the fourth. A clutch Alex Chin goal pushed the game out of reach, but Nashoba never stopped playing.

Proper Seeding?

After the game, Skermont said he knew that Nashoba wasn't going to play like a 14 seed, and McNamara said he felt his team deserved to be slotted a bit higher. But, like the seeding system or not, this is how the bracket worked out, and it made for a thrilling first round game. These two teams know each other quite well (This was their third meeting this season), and the punch-counterpunch throughout the afternoon was fun to watch.

Plus, the goal of any team is to win the whole thing, not just hope for a favorable draw.

"We wanted to get out of the first round, obviously," McNamara said. "But, at the end of the day, our goal as a program is to win the whole tournament. So we're not worried about seeding, we're worried about getting to that point."

Next for Shrewsbury

The Colonials will get to host another playoff game this Saturday against Nipmuc at 3:30 pm. Shrewsbury beat the Warriors earlier this year 10-7, but they aren't going to take anything for granted. The Warriors boast one of the region's most prolific scorers in James Broomfield, and Nipmuc steadily improved after it's loss to Shrewsbury, winning eight in a row after falling to the Colonials.

But, if Shrewsbury can keep up this pace and balance offensively, it's hard to see Nipmuc sending them home before the semifinals.