PEABODY — The Bishop Fenwick boys soccer team had trouble capitalizing on scoring chances as the Crusaders fell 3-1 to Malden Catholic on a rainy Monday night at Donaldson Stadium.
Despite the loss, second-year head coach Tony Enos was happy with the Crusaders’ improvement in the season opener.
“I started here last year and no question this was the best game we have played since I’ve been here,” Enos said. “The team is really playing together as a team this year. Players have learned their positions, are understanding the system of play and they were playing it.
“The only difference was we didn’t finish and they did, that was it,” Enos added. “We had more opportunities. We had seven, they had four and they made good on three. It is what it is, you have to finish but I’m very proud of our guys. This preseason we worked hard on defense and I think it showed. We won balls all over the field and we just recently spent a few days working on attack. Clearly we should’ve spent more time on attack but it’ll come along. It’s a long season. I’m still feeling quite good about it.”
Fenwick had the first four scoring chances of the game but either missed its shots wide of the net or had them blocked by Malden Catholic defenders. Then, with just over 24 minutes left in the half, the Lancers got on the board first. William Klonsky forced a turnover and passed to Matthew Soucy who scored to give Malden Catholic a 1-0 lead.
With seconds remaining in the first half, Fenwick’s Tarek Nabbout was awarded a penalty kick, however Lancers goaltender Liam Barrett made a diving save to sustain the lead.
“I thought the penalty kick has fine,” Enos said. “It was solid, it was to the corner and the goalkeeper guessed the right way and made a good save, I can’t complain.”
In the second half Malden Catholic once again found the back of the net first. Klonsky broke away from the defense and fired a shot that was saved, however Soucy was there for the rebound to score his second goal of the night and put the Lancers up 2-0.
The Crusaders responded about 10 minutes later to make it a one-goal game. Sean Walsh fed a perfect pass across the box to Sean Kern who finished the play with a goal to cut the deficit to 2-1.
“Sean Walsh is an excellent player,” Enos said. “He’s one of our captains for obvious reasons and he’s a real team leader. I moved him from center back and moved him up. He is so effective no matter where he plays.”
The deficit would prove to be too much, however, when Malden Catholic added a third goal, this time off the leg of Nate Frye, to bolster its lead to 3-1 and secure the win.
Next up for Bishop Fenwick is an away game against St. Mary’s Wednesday (7:30) at Manning Field. Enos said the team will be busy in the film room preparing for the Catholic Central League matchup.
“We start the year with probably our two toughest opponents,” Enos said. “We have the benefit of video from last year. They’re a very good possessing team with some very good players.
“No question we will all learn from today,” Enos added. “Tomorrow we will review the film and we will learn from it, it’s huge.”