Cavaliers take out Jaguars

The Hollis Brookline High School boys soccer team dealt with some opening day jitters, but not for long.

Cole Owens accounted for both of the Cavaliers’ goals in their 2-0 Division II win over Windham in Friday’s season opener. It was a rematch of the last two championship games, which both ended in favor of the Jaguars.

The first strike came at the 11:28 mark when Jaguars’ goal keeper Tanner Arnold attempted to snatch a crossing pass by Alex Reynolds from the right side. The pass went out of reach of the sprawling Arnold and Owens swooped in to knock the loose ball in.

“On crosses, (Arnold) wasn’t coming out for them at all,” Owens said. “(Reynolds) crossed the ball and I waited for it to get to me, I just saw the goalie try to grab it and I just slipped my leg through and got it.”

Seven minutes later, Guillem Pujadas sent a pass up field to Owens who whirled around a defender and put a shot on net that beat Arnold.

“We had to play hard, be simple and we were trying to get our anger out,” said Owens.

From there, Windham (0-1) conducted an offensive surge upon the Hollis Brookline defense with a handful of possessions and free kicks, but the Cavaliers (1-0) clogged up their box to prevent a legitimate shot for the Jaguars. Hollis Brookline net minder Michael Pattelena made three saves and Arnold corralled six.

“To have so many young guys that we asked to step up, they played with a lot of heart,” said Windham coach Michael Hachey. “We kept it close and had some chances. We’re disappointed to lose, but not disappointed in how we performed today.”

The Cavaliers’ offense was fluent in the second half, but not before having to work through some kinks in the first 40 minutes. Hollis Brookline dominated possession in the opening half by using speed to penetrate into the Windham zone, but could not close on the opportunities.

“I think we weren’t clinical in our finishing,” Hollis Brookline coach Rick Carvalho said. “We should have put (Windham) away earlier, but they’re a good team, they hung around and they had a couple of good opportunities themselves.”

The Cavaliers were set up with a couple of breakaways, but their shots were off the mark and Arnold came up with four of his six saves in the half.

During the halftime break, the Cavaliers recognized some of the Windham strengths and devised a few adjustments to get into their rhythm.

“I talked to the boys about getting wider, getting tighter defensively and win the ball back quicker,” said Carvalho. “We had a better attacking mentality.”

The two teams are familiar with each other after Hollis Brookline had lost to Windham in each of the last two Division II title matches, but the Jaguars dealt with some injuries and fielded some younger players this time around.

“We’re all forming our identity right now,” Hachey said. “Obviously we would like a different result, but we can’t be disappointed with the effort we got from our boys today.”

The Cavaliers return to the pitch Sept. 3 against Trinity in Manchester.