MV United edged by St. Michael in MAPLE league fall soccer finale

Gabriel Bellbuono contests a header with a St. Michael's opponent in Sunday's MAPLE league match at MVRHS. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The MV United boys Under-14 soccer team closed out the Mass Premier League (MAPLE) Division 2 fall season with a hard-fought 2-1 loss Sunday afternoon at Dan McCarthy Field to St. Michael Youth of New Bedford.

MAPLE is the highest level of youth soccer in the state. The Vineyard side gained promotion from the third division in June after a sterling debut last spring.

The 2012 fall season started off as a struggle for coaches David Wallis and Richard Andre and their talented roster. MVU was 0-4-1 at the midpoint and suffered through some uncharacteristically lopsided losses while the players found their legs against tougher competition.

In the past month, the team had turned things around with four straight wins heading into the match with St. Michael. “It’s been a tale of two seasons,” coach Wallis said.

Sunday afternoon, United looked like they would end the season over .500. The hosts carried the play in the first half and took the lead after 15 minutes on a superb header by Nevin Wallis. It was the fifth goal in four matches for the team’s high scorer.

St. Michael’s proved why they will soon contest a playoff match for promotion into the prestigious MAPLE first division. The New Bedford side equalized in the 49th minute and scored the match-winner with five minutes remaining off a perfect cross into the box.

MV United finished 4-5-1 in their first taste of second division play and are poised for a bright spring season, come April.