The Northfield boys soccer team started its quest for a Section 1AA title without much trouble Thursday night at Northfield High School, where it eased past Farmington 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
The Raiders (10-1-1) possessed a 1-0 lead at halftime before dominating possession throughout the second half and not allowing a shot on goal from the Tigers (0-12).
“It becomes difficult for our opponent, but when we control with purpose like we did this evening it becomes really (difficult),” Northfield coach Westley Dayus said. “We just talked about it, but Farmington knew probably 10 minutes (into the second half) there was no way they were getting back into the game just because of the way we play our football. It was really, really good to see.”
Northfield senior forward Charlie Pratt scored the first two goals for Northfield, both off assists from junior Pablo Gallardo. Gallardo also drew a penalty, which senior Grant Roney was able to capitalize on by blasting in the rebound after his initial shot was saved. The win was the eighth shutout of the season for the Raiders.
“The boys played fantastically well this evening and kept to what they were supposed to be doing,” Dayus said. “We were cutting back and getting crosses in so everything was starting to build up instead of going, ‘Oh, I’ll get it to Pascal (Cogan).’ Now we started to work the ball around, so that was really good to see.”
Cogan, a senior forward, was unavailable for the Raiders. That meant Pratt, who’s normally a winger, stepped into the center forward role, while Gallardo, typically an outside back, slid up the formation to winger.
“The good things and some of the bad things is he loves to go forward and he loves to diagonally dribble,” Dayus said. “When he’s playing at defense, sometimes he’s a little too keen to get going, but that’s Pablo.”
Northfield advances to the semifinals at home Wednesday against fourth-seeded Rochester Mayo, which beat New Prague 4-0 in its quarterfinal match.
The Raiders beat the Spartans 4-0 in the first game of the season, but the Spartans knocked the Raiders out of last year’s Section 1AA tournament in the semifinals.