BROCKTON, Mass. ---- Sophomore goalkeeper Andre Reis (Fall River) came up with two big saves during penalty kicks as the Massasoit Community College men's soccer team defeated CCRI for the Region XXI crown on a rain-soaked Saturday.
By claiming the regional title for the 23rd time in program history, Massasoit will host the Northeast Districts on Saturday, Nov. 8. The Warriors (13-4-1) will take on the Region 19 champion at 10 a.m. in the district semifinals. The district championship will also be played in Brockton on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m.
Heavy rain and wind made for not the most optimal playing conditions, but the newly renovated Warrior Field held up to Mother Nature.
"It is very difficult (playing conditions), especially for a team like us that wants to possess and move the ball," Massasoit head coach Rui Estrela said. "I thought the guys played well. They did what they had to do to take the game. That was a tough day to play. It was cold and rainy."
Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation, and two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods, the game went to PKs.
CCRI's Evan Gaudreau and Junior Robert also each made their attempts for a 2-2 tie after the first two tries.
Momentum looked to go to the visiting Knights, as Vangjel Kutulla's (Norwood) shot was saved by CCRI keeper Alex Padilla.
But, Reis would stop the next two PKs by the Knights, sandwiched around a converted attempt by Warrior William Neves (Brockton). The second stop by Reis set the stage for Fabio Cula (Brockton) who rifled a shot to the back of the net for a the dramatic Massasoit victory.
"What comes through my mind (when a game goes to penalty kicks)? I want to throw up," Estrela said with a chuckle. "That's always difficult; it's anyone's game. At that point it really isn't about who is the better team but who is lucky at that point. That can go either way. Glad we were able to win."
The possibility of back-to-back seasons ending by penalty kicks loomed in Estrela's mind once the two overtime periods ended. Massasoit fell to ASA College in the district semifinals last year to conclude the 2013 campaign.
"After last year, I was thinking I can't believe we are back in this position," Estrela said. "But they did what they had to do. They made some really good shots and were more confident this time around. We have been practicing PKs all week."
In regulation, Massasoit struck early, when Fabio Cula served a pass into the box, where Kutulla buried the shot in the seventh minute of action.
The Warriors produced several more scoring chances throughout the contest, but CCRI keeper Alex Padilla kept the visitor's in striking distance with 12 saves for the game.
In the 60th minute, Massasoit was whistled for a foul in the box. CCRI's Evan Gaudreau found the back of the net on the PK to tie the score 1-1.
The game would remain 1-1 into penalty kicks, in which the Warriors ended up winning 4-2, to advance to the Northeast Districts for the second straight season.
CITY OF CHAMPIONS: Massasoit claimed its 23rd Region XXI Championship with the victory over CCRI on Saturday.
PKs GO MASSASOIT'S WAY: The 2013 season ended in penalty kicks for Massasoit, falling to ASA College 4-3 in PKs. This season, the Warriors converted four of five attempts to earn the Region XXI title.
UNBEATEN STREAK CONTINUES: Saturday's game goes in the record books as a tie against the Knights, but the Warriors have now gone unbeaten in 10 consecutive matches (9-0-1) dating back to Sept. 24.