Sports

Peabody boys soccer punches ticket to state tournament with win over Marblehead

Peabody players celebrate after a goal made by Cairo Dalifour (17) during a soccer game against Marblehead at Marblehead High School on Thursday afternoon. (Olivia Falcigno)

MARBLEHEAD — The Peabody boys soccer team continued its streak of hot play Thursday afternoon, rolling to a 5-2 win over Northeastern Conference foe Marblehead at Piper Field. With the win, the Tanners — who have now won five straight games and eight of their last nine — qualified for the state tournament.

“It’s a great feeling to get the clinching win, especially with seven games left in the season,” said Peabody coach Stan McKeen. “Now the focus is on getting as many points as we can so we can get a high seed and a home game.”

Cairo Dalifour had a big game for Peabody with two goals, while Victor Maciel, Kyle Joyce and Edward Santos each had one goal. Brian Panzini had one assist, while Nick Sablone also played well in the win.

“We came out and moved the ball well all game, and we got some great opportunities,” said McKeen. “There were some sloppy plays for us that we can clean up, but for the most part we did a really good job out there.”

For Marblehead, Ryan Masters and Brogan McGorrey each scored one goal while Padraig Bresnahan and Baxter Jennings each had one assist. 

Peabody got going early in this one, scoring less than five minutes into the game. After a corner attempt by the Tanners, Marblehead attempted to clear the ball out of the zone but failed. Instead, the ball bounced straight up in the air above Dalifour’s head. After a quick chest tap to settle the ball on his foot, Dalifour rocketed a shot into the top-right corner of the net to give Peabody a 1-0 lead. 

About 12 minutes later the Tanners struck again, this time off the foot of Maciel. After taking control of the ball near midfield, Panzini broke into the offensive zone and sent a quick pass to Maciel, who knocked one by the goalie for a 2-0 lead. The Tanners quickly added a third goal thanks to Joyce, and it looked like Peabody might run away with the win.

But Marblehead continued to fight back. The Magicians finally got on the board with just over five minutes to play in the first half, getting a goal from Masters on a nifty assist from Bresnahan to make it 3-1. 

In the second half, Peabody once again came out and established itself right away. Just over five minutes into the half, Dalifour added his second goal of the game on a free kick from about 25 yards out to make it 4-1. The Tanners added to their lead with 18 minutes left in the game on a goal from Santos, making it 5-1. 

Marblehead did add one more goal, getting a score from McGorrey on an assist from Jennings with 16:39 remaining, but that was all the Magicians could muster.

Next up for Marblehead (7-5-3) is a road game against Gloucester Friday (4).

Peabody (9-3) takes on Danvers Friday (4).

“This is a young team this year, and the guys are really just starting to come together and realize what it takes to win at this level,” said McKeen. “It’s taken a few games for them to all get familiar, but now that we’re there we just want to keep building.”

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