Soccer Team Making history

Hiller’s boys soccer team defeats the Wayland Warriors to advance to the semi-finals for the first time in program history.

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Boys team holding banner and trophy after the game

Sam Vasington, Staff Reporter

After a 2-2 draw through extra time, a save from senior goalkeeper Max Nye during the 5-3 penalty shootout win helped the Hillers advance to the final four.

“Well, going into it, obviously I was a little nervous, but Dylan said, ‘You’re not expected to save the goal as a goalie. You can only be a hero,’” said Nye. “So I think I went into it with a little more confidence than fear. And then, especially once I saved that, that second PK it was just really a great feeling.”

This win was especially important because it was the first time in the program’s history that boy’s soccer won a sectional title.

“This win earned our team’s place in history. Becoming the best team in school history has been on all of our minds since the beginning of the season, and this win solidifies that,” said senior Dylan Michaud.

The Hillers have found ways to win in the playoffs. Each of their three playoff games has gone to overtime and ended in a Hopkinton victory, but this one was the first shootout.

“We’re a gritty team. We gritted hard today, and we even got a cheeky little gritty dance from Peter,” said senior captain Declan Mick.

Captain Peter Demichele holds the banner

Demichele explained that grit is one of the team’s core values this season, and he and fellow senior Sean Golembiewski do the gritty dance after each game.

“It kind of recognizes that every time we go out on the field, we’re giving it our all, and we’re challenging our opponents every step of the way,” said Demichele.

Wayland started the game strong, scoring quickly off of a deflection in the 10th minute, but Hopkinton answered a minute later with a goal from Demichele.

“I was really excited. I was yelling and really pumped because we had just been scored on, and we got one back pretty quickly,” said Demichele.

After a second Wayland goal, Jack Green scored a header in the 25th minute off of a corner kick taken by Demichele.

“Coach Sawyer talked about their corner kicks, how they pack in their defense back there. So I just slipped in behind the defender, put my head on the ball, and put it in,” said Green.

Green’s goal was the last goal during the run of play.

“This was the longest game of soccer I’ve ever played,” said Mick. “A hundred minutes plus penalty kicks! I never want to forget this.”

“It’s hard to play for 100 minutes, and we could tell at the end where it looked like we were getting a bit tired,” said Nye.

Lifting the trophy

Going into the game, the team knew it would not be easy.

“I think our team is prepared. I think we’re going to face a tough opponent, and our team is going to give its best, and then we’ll see how it ends up,” said Coach Sawyer at the boys’ last practice before the game.

After the game, Sawyer said that he was very excited about the win.

“I thought we hung tough against a really good opponent. We played really good defense and practice on penalty kicks really paid off. This game was just another example of the resilience of this team.”

The Hillers look to continue their historic run on Tuesday, November 15, at Doyle Field in Leominster against Bedford in the state semifinal.