Burlington Central drops key BNC East matchBurlington Central's Chris Gousios (10) battles with Harvard's Eduardo Esquivel during Wednesday night's game at Burlington. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 28, 2011 9:55PM
One by one the veteran leaders on Burlington Central’s soccer team spoke to the assembled squad Wednesday night as they did some soul searching.
A critical 2-1 defeat moments earlier on their own field against Harvard wasn’t the only reason for the concern they had, but it couldn’t be discounted, either.
“Today they outworked us,” Central coach Michael Gecan said. “You can’t get outworked on your home field. I mean, it shouldn’t happen.
“Kudos to Harvard for taking it to us.”
Harvard’s remaining Big Northern East match is against third-place Marengo, which has hovered near .500 most of the season. If the Hornets win that one, the Rockets could do no better than tie for the conference title by winning their remaining BNCE matches against Genoa-Kingston, North Boone, Richmond-Burton and Marengo.
Central’s Chris Gousios and Ian Graffagna worked a perfect give-and-go from up top and it sprung Gousios to knock in a point-blank, wide-open shot with 20:35 to play, reducing the Rockets’ deficit to 2-1.
However, the goal opportunities were few and far between for Central (8-4-4, 4-1-1), which fell into a tie in the loss column with Harvard (13-4-2, 6-1-1) in the Big Northern East.
“It’s been an up-and-down type of season,” Gecan said. “It’s just, I think they know what they could do and they have patches in games where they just disappear.
“Not to take anything away from Harvard — I thought they did a great job — but you can’t just disappear and have bad 10-, 15-minute spells which we continue to do and then we give up a goal or two and it’s over.”
Central didn’t get a shot on goal until 15 1/2 minutes remained in the first half, and Harvard controlled the ball until late. The Hornets outshot Central 11-5 for the match, had a 7-3 edge in corner kicks and maintained pressure even when up 2-0.
Nathan Baldwin scored both of Harvard’s goals with brilliant individual efforts. He beat Brad Yarwood in a one-on-one matchup to get off a shot to the right upper corner for the first goal midway through the first half, then with 28:59 left to play he connected on a low-angle shot to the opposite high side of the net.
“I think one of the great things about Nathan is he’s not a selfish player,” Harvard coach David Abel said. “If that person is wide open, he’s going to look to that person.”
But he was the person who got wide open against the Rockets defense, and that’s what bothered Central and Gecan.
Not being able to get more offense going may have bothered the Rockets even more.
“We changed our formation and we got the possession back but then we still struggle with getting the final ball to get the shots, to get the opportunities we need,” Gecan said. “It’s the same story, the same mistakes by individuals — each player makes the same mistakes individually and the team continues to make the same mistakes.”
Transitioning hurt the Rockets once they needed to mount an offensive when down 2-0.
“We don’t know how to get our middle outsides into attacking forwards,” Gecan said. “Then when we put them in like forwards, they don’t know how to get back in like mids.
“We’re trying to find the balance of it. That is crucial.”