LYNN — Another day, another shutout victory for the St. Mary’s boys soccer team.
This time in the first round of the Division 4 North tournament, as the top-seeded Spartans took down No. 16 Stoneham, 4-0, Friday at Manning Field.
Joseph Thongsythavong logged a hat trick and Matt Connolly gave the Spartans all the offense they would need two minutes in.
Connolly put back the rebound off Thongsythavong’s shot in the opening minutes, and St. Mary’s never looked back.
“It was great, the effort was there and that’s what you need,” St. Mary’s coach Mike D’Agostino said. “Matt Connolly worked hard on the outside, got the rebound and followed up, and that was a great way to set the tone.”
The Spartans kept the pressure on throughout the first half, but Stoneham goalie Karston Long was spectacular, turning away shot after shot.
It took a perfectly-executed corner kick play to add to the Spartans lead with just under five minutes to play in the half. Chris Garcia sent a lofting pass in from the corner across the mouth of the goal, and Thongsythavong was there to head it in by the left goalpost.
“That corner kick play was beautiful, beautiful head ball,” D’Agostino said. “He’s been finishing all day with his headers. We’ve been very aggressive in the air and we’ll continue to do that.”
Thongsythavong opened the second half with a picture-perfect shot from the right sideline that found space in between the crossbar and Long’s reach to make it 3-0. The junior midfielder completed the hat trick on a penalty shot late in the game.
While Spartans goalie Richie Mateo didn’t see a ton of action, he had to come up with a great save to preserve the shutout. Stoneham’s Caio Barbosa earned a penalty kick with 13:30 to play, and Mateo made a diving stop. That stop seemed to put an end to any momentum Stoneham created in the second half.
“The save by Richie, saving a PK to get the win here at home is huge,” D’Agostino said of Mateo, who logged his 12th shutout of the year. “He’s been great for us in the back as is my center back Jose Del Valle.”
The road ahead will be challenging for St. Mary’s, which will host No. 9 Burke, which topped No. 8 Maimonides, 5-1. Burke’s a familiar team on the North Shore; previously playing in Division 3, Burke lost to Swampscott in the 2015 tournament and lost to Marblehead in last year’s North semifinals.
“Burke’s a very, very good team,” D’Agostino said. “They dropped down from Division 3, and they’re a great program with a lot of talent.”
The Spartans will continue their quest for a state title in the North quarterfinals Sunday at 6 at Manning.