Marblehead brings its A game in win over Swampscott

Marblehead player Francesco Nardinocchio (7) battles for the ball with Swampscott player Jason Aucone (11) during a soccer game against Swampscott at Marblehead High School on Tuesday night. (Olivia Falcigno)

MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead boys soccer team brought its A-game Tuesday night, earning a big 3-1 win over Swampscott at Piper Field.

The Magicians created offensive pressure from the opening whistle and had the Big Blue playing on their heels for most of the night.

“I liked seeing that,” said Marblehead coach Scott Laramie. “It’s what we talk about, and this team is very good when they do bring the effort. We’ve had lapses and times that it hasn’t gone our way this year. It’s usually because of effort. It was nice to see that there (Tuesday).”

Colin Hart, Ryan Masters and Francesco Nardinocchi each scored one goal for the Magicians.

Swampscott’s defense played well but Marblehead’s constant pressure forced the Big Blue into some mistakes.

“Their three goals were all our mistakes,” Big Blue coach Mike Amaral said. “They didn’t actually have the opportunities created. But they were able to score three goals and what counts is the score at the end.”

Swampscott’s lone goal came from Owen Bergeron in the first half. Overall, the offense struggled to create opportunities.

“It’s tough for our group,” Amaral said. “We worked well but unfortunately we weren’t making runs to support. That’s part of the game.”

The Magicians had no trouble creating offense early on. Nardinocchi had two shots on goal in the first minute of play but Big Blue goalie Thomas Poska made a pair of saves to keep the game scoreless.

Marblehead continued to dominate possession and had three chances on corner kicks in the first ten minutes. But Swampscott’s defense, led by two blocked shots from Kyle Fitzgerald, held on.

Midway through the first half, Hart used his speed to win a race to a loose ball and ripped a shot that found the back of the net to put the Magicians ahead 1-0.

The Big Blue answered less than a minute later thanks to a great play from Bergeron. A Marblehead turnover gave Bergeron possession at the top of the box and he ripped a beautiful shot that just tucked into the top right corner of the goal to tie things up at 1-1.

Things stayed tied for several minutes before Masters won a scrum for the ball in front of Swampscott’s net and finished the play to give Marblehead a 2-1 lead at halftime. 

The Magicians got off to a fast start in the second half. After a handful of quality chances throughout the night, Nardinocchi finally cashed one in with a nice shot between two defenders that found the back of the net to stretch Marblehead’s lead to 3-1.

Already down a pair of goals, things didn’t get any easier for the Big Blue when a red card put them a man down for the final 28 minutes. Swampscott created some good pressure to end the game but the Marblehead defense remained tight to give the Magicians a much-needed win.

“The defense played well,” Laramie said. “At times we’ve gotten a little unorganized in the back. We’ve been working on it all year. (Tuesday) we were solid, we kept Swampscott outside. You can’t keep that one shot out of the goal. That was pretty.”

The win moves the Magicians to 7-5-3 on the season, needing one win or tie in their final three games to qualify for the state tournament. It won’t come easy with a tough slate of games starting at Danvers next Monday (6:30) before games against Beverly (home) Tuesday and Peabody (away) Wednesday.

“The message is to just be ready to go,” Laramie said. “I know you say it again and again, but just as long as we’re ready to go and bring the effort. If they do that they’re as good as everyone else. If not then it’s tough to watch.”

Swampscott travels to Bedford Thursday (4).

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