FRANKLIN, Mass. ---- Behind a pair of goals from Joel Lobo (Brockton) the Massasoit Community College men's soccer team defeated Dean College, 2-1, to capture the Region XXI New England Championship on Saturday afternoon at Longley Field.
The title victory marked the 21st Region XXI Championship crown won by Massasoit (11-5-2) in program history and the fifth in the last six seasons under head coach Rui Estrela.
"This kids really came out and played their hearts out today," Estrela said. "We gave up a goal (in the second half), that happens in soccer, but I can't say enough good things about the way the team came out and competed today. We worked hard all week for this game and they were not going to be denied. I really knew from the start that they were going to come out and battle. Now we get to pack our bags for New York next week."
Massasoit will play ASA College next Saturday in the District Semifinals in upstate New York. A location and time have yet to be determined.
The Warriors controlled the tempo in the first half and were able to strike first as Lobo netted his first goal of the contest at the 16:26 mark. The goal came on a header that was set up on a perfectly lofted cross from midfielder Edmar "Pepe" Vieira (Brockton).
Leading 1-0 at the half, the game got interesting at the start of the second stanza.
Massasoit appeared to have complete control of the game, despite only leading by a single goal. However, Dean College (8-8-1) tied up the score as Daniel Couto rocketed a shot amongst a scrum outside the 18-yard box in the upper-90 of the net to even the game at 1-1 in the 58th minute.
Despite allowing the goal, the Warriors responded quickly. Just four minutes later John Corr (Brockton) tapped a pass inside the box and Lobo fired a shot to beat the Dean goalkeeper for what proved to be the game winner. Lobo now has a Region XXI best 14 goals on the season.
"Joel's the type of guy that if he is playing well, we play well. If he can put the pressure on up top like he did today, we are a tough team to compete against," Estrela said.
Overshadowed by Lobo's goals was the play of goalkeeper Andre Reis (Fall River). Reis made four saves, three in the second half against the Bulldogs' offense as Massasoit has now won five-straight matches.
Massasoit held the edge in shots 19 to 10 and took nine corner kicks to six by Dean.
NOTES: Massasoit won the season series with Dean 2-1...all three games against Dean were decided by one goal...Saturday marked the sixth consecutive meeting between Massasoit and Dean College in the Region XXI Championship game.