PLYMOUTH — It was a dream scenario for Needham’s vaunted offense when it was awarded a penalty shot within the opening two minutes.
Only it didn’t pan out as envisioned, with the top-seeded Rockets unable to convert the penalty kick into an early lead against No. 4 Silver Lake in Thursday’s Division 1 South semifinal at Plymouth North’s Romano Field.
The Rockets shook it off and stayed aggressive, finally taking the lead on a second-half tally from Alejandro Agualimpia that propelled Needham to a 2-0 victory and to a sixth sectional final appearance in the last eight years.
“We just knew if we continued to be dynamic and threaten, our dynamic attack is going to finally put one in,” said Needham soccer coach Jimmy Odierna. “The work paid off.”
Silver Lake (14-6) keeper JJ Devine, who was terrific and made nine saves, stopped Matt Dougherty’s penalty kick and the ensuing rebound chance less than two minutes into the contest.
Needham (15-3-3) kept attacking with a shot clanging off the crossbar moments later, but didn’t having anything to show from its chances until the 47th minute.
The Rockets took advantage of a failed Silver Lake clear and Agualimpia delivered a low shot into the net for the 1-0 lead.
While Nate Goldberg added a goal in the final seconds, Needham’s stout defense, anchored by Brian Poolman and Matt Fidurko, suffocated the Lakers with Silver Lake registering only one second-half shot on net.
“They did their jobs like they’ve been doing all season and it was great,” Odierna said.
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