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City Rivals, Part 1: North boys soccer moves past BG, 4-1

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Sep 26, 2023

s Malik Ogbunmari (8) deflects the ball away from Nashua North forwarad Efetobore Ogagan during the Titans' 4-1 win at Stellos Stadium on Monday. (Telgraph photo by TOM KING)

NASHUA – The frustration of one-goal losses, a couple in overtime, was becoming a big problem.

What to do for the Nashua High School North boys soccer team?

Change it up, that’s what. The result was an impressive offensive display in a 4-1 win over city rival Bishop Guertin Monday at Stellos Stadium.

“We changed up our formation a little bit today to give ourselves a little more attacking power, which helped,” said North coach Jeremy Zelanes, who switched to a 4-3-3. “I put some players in who I felt were key players and it worked out for us.”

The result was constant offensive pressure, especially in the first half, after which the 4-5 Titans led 3-1with some pretty bang-bang goals that showed what this team is capable of.

Meanwhile, BG dropped to 1-7-1, and the Cards sluggish start combined with North’s aggression put them in a 2-0 hole early, setting a tough tone.

“Any game coming out of the weekend is always tough,” Guertin coach Tyler VanDevetter said. “Monday games are always tough, we seemed asleep.”

Sevastian Arango scored the game’s first goal with a rocket from just outside the penalty area, asssted by Jonnathan Lopes 15 minutes in. Lopes gave his second assist feeding Efetobore Ogagan on a bang bang play, Ogagan heading in Lopes’ cross two-and-a-half minutes later to make it 2-0. Cards keeper Beau Boughter (five saves) had no chance.

That’s when VanDeventer, from the sideline, implored his team not to give up, and it responded. Guertin’s Ryaan Hameed, ever dangerous, put one in at 23:33 from the left side. Titan netminder Geovanny Quintana (three stops) was partially screened by a defender as he didn’t see the perfectly placed shot until it was too late.

But that momentum disappeared soon after as North got a huge goal by Junior Reyes Rios, assisted by Sam Paintsil, five minutes later to go up 3-1. The way the Titans were dominating offensively, it seemed like an even bigger lead.

“There were moments in the first half we were definitely in the game,” VanDevnter said. “A couple of things go not our way, and result in goals.”

“A hundred percent,” Zelanes said. “Coming off the Goffstown loss this weekend, the guys all know we should be playing on a different level than we’ve been playing. This game was a good confidence boost for them. But we’ve got a tough game (later) this week.

“But we’ve got a lot to work on our formation, just making sure our team chemistry is there.”

Bishop Guertin’s Beau Boughter punches the ball away with help from defender Max Derose as North’s Efetobore Ogagan (17) looks on during Monday’s game at Stellos Stadium. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

That wasn’t an issue yesterday. In the second half, David Pereira nailed a penalty kick after he was tripped in the penalty area in the 57th minute to ice the game at 4-1.

“We come out in the second half and I thought we were the better team for the opening 15 minutes,” VanDeventer said. “And then the PK happens and it deflates everybody.”

“That kind of sealed the deal for us,” Zelanes said. “But today just proved overall we can play to a higher level, we can play together, and that’s what we have to focus on the rest of the season.”


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