Winning the Massachusetts Tournament Of Champions, the state’s most prestigious youth soccer tournament, is considerably difficult. The grueling path to the state championship requires five wins in 48 hours against the best competition in the region. With so many matches crammed into one weekend, the unforgiving format puts a premium on stamina, will, and guts. A little bit of luck doesn’t hurt either.
Unfortunately for the MV United Under-18 men’s soccer team, despite having a division best 3-0 record after the first round, the bounces didn’t go the Vineyard’s way in a 2-1 semifinal loss to Worcester Sunday in Lancaster. Coach Esteban Aranzabe’s side played well in defeat and finished the season with a record of 12-2.
The teams played to a stalemate in the first half. Worcester scored first and Kane Araujo equalized for United. Worcester scored the match-winner with a shot from outside the box that went in low to the far post.
The Vineyard attacked furiously in the closing minutes but the Worcester defense held firm.
“We attacked them with everybody, including the goalie,” coach Aranzabe said. In the last five minutes, they defended with 11 players inside their box.”
Vineyard perfect in first round
MV United started the MTOC, Friday afternoon, by doubling up Wilmington 4-2. Martin Aranzabe scored twice, while Vincent Carlomagno and Kane Araujo had a goal apiece.
Saturday morning, the Purple and Black toughed out a 1-0 win over Hampshire United. Martin Aranzabe scored the Vineyard goal. In the matinée match, Kyp Cooperrider and Ben Dwane put the ball in the onion bag to lift MVU into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Pentucket.