Hopkinton’s Max Nye makes the only save during the PK round in defeating Wayland
Hopkinton’s Max Nye makes the only save during the PK round against Wayland as the Hillers advance to the boys’ Final Four for the first time
MetroWest Daily News
HOPKINTON – The trophy stayed in his hands long after it was presented. The right place for the keepsake: Max Nye’s capable hands.
The Hopkinton senior made the ultimate penalty-round save before classmate Sean Golembiewski turned on the game-winner to push the Hillers into the Final Four of Division 2 boys’ football for the first time after beating Wayland 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Ten kicks. Nine goals. A save: Nye’s jump tip ahead of Andrew Medeiro’s low shot in the second round of penalties.
“PKs are expected to make it,” Nye said. “And that’s the good thing about being a goalkeeper: every time you save him, you look like the hero. A single save can really make the difference.”
The game started with four goals in the first 25 minutes. With a goalless second half and two 10-minute overtime periods, the score remained stuck. Peter DeMichele – who scored Hopkinton’s first goal of regular time – Andrew Bialobrzeski, Will Bialobrzeski and Dylan Michaud all converted their PKs for the Hillers.
After Wayland’s Fred Czauderna (who also scored regularly) beat Nye on the left, Golembiewski decided. He made no mistake
“I was happy to finish it,” Golembiewski said. “I’m glad Max saved so early. That was the best feeling ever.”
All of Hopkinton’s three playoff wins have come after regulation, with the first two coming in sudden-death overtime.
What it means
The No. 2-seeded Hopkinton improves to 18-1-2 and is expected to face Bedford (14-2-2) in Wednesday’s state semifinals, who beat their playoff opponents 8-0.
Nye made another key save, this time in first overtime, on a close-range shot from Medeiros.
Luke Caples opened the scoring for Wayland when he made a left footed low shot in the 15th minute of the game. It was the first goal the Hillers had conceded in exactly a month since Norwood faced them on Oct. 13.
Hopkinton was quick to react when Michaud’s pretty cross found DeMichele for a one-timer.
Wayland regained the lead through Czauderna’s header with 16 minutes remaining in the first half, but Jack Green equalized again less than a minute later.
“By the time we finished celebrating it seemed like they had already put the ball in the net,” said Wayland coach Dave Gavron. “You love being the first to score to see if you can take some momentum away from the home team.”
Immediately after the whistle blew after the second overtime, the Hillers quickly found Nye to offer handshakes and encouragement. They knew their season rested in his capable fists.
Hopkinton won the coin toss and elected to shoot first. After Caples and DeMichele – a No. 10 pair – traded conversions, Andrew Bialobrzeski tied for the Hillers. Medeiros was next.
“He positioned himself, he looked a little too much to the right,” Nye explained the approach. “He was trying to spoof me, so I went to my left, to his right, and I guessed right.”
Nye slid left and was able to get his left hand on the shot, causing him to roll away. He immediately got up, clenched both fists, clapped his hands, and walked away as the tense gunfight continued.
“Max is really good on the floor,” said Hopkinton coach Garrett Sawyer. “I knew as soon as I went into the shootout he had a chance to save at least one. When I saw that tip, I just knew that if our boys put the ball in play, we’ll have it. I wasn’t surprised that he had tipped that one. That is his strength.”
With the season ahead, Golembiewski looked like he’d been in that position before. Hopping in place before approaching the ball, he stuttered, paused and calmly found the top right corner, past Wayland keeper Jake Crawford. The first teammate to hug Golembiewski was fittingly Nye.
“I look for the goalkeeper who moves and just go the other way,” Golembiewski said of his PK strategy. “And if the keeper doesn’t move, I just put it in the corner and he doesn’t have enough time to get at it anyway. That works pretty well.”
Based on the numbers
17: Consecutive games unbeaten for Hopkinton, who lost 4-1 to Holliston on September 9. It is the Hillers’ only loss this season.
11: Number of shutouts earned by Hopkinton entering the match, including seven in a row.
Grayson Getz. The Wayland senior kicked a ball off the goal line in the second half to tie the game.
You said so
sawyer: “I said before the game – no matter where the game goes, whether we get promoted or they get promoted or it’s a draw, we’re going to stay mentally balanced and just keep playing. Play the full 80 minutes; and of course the full ones, whatever it was, a hundred?”
Gavron: “It was a great performance regardless of the result. I’m really proud of the boys and I’m proud of their development throughout the season. I would have liked to have had another game with them.”
Golembiewski: “We were at that (Elite 8) game in West Springfield last year (a 2-3 loss); to come back and take it this time, it feels so much better. (Reaching the Final Four) is a big goal for us this season.”
Hopkinton takes on Bedford, who have only lost to Wayland and Concord-Carlisle, both 1-0.
“I’m excited,” Nye said. “We have some momentum. Seventeen (games undefeated) in a row. Look forward to something.”
Tim Dumas is a multimedia journalist for the Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TimDumas.