Bradwell soccer coach Greg Cooke said he feels great about the boys’ season, despite their 3-1 loss to Pebblebrook on Wednesday night in the first round of playoffs.
"We had the best regular season this program has seen," Cooke said. "We ended 21-2 within the region tied with Camden for first in wins, however due to goal differential we took the second seed in the region. The seniors of this team really pulled the team together and worked hard throughout a tough and tiring season. This senior class is my first set of players I have had the honor of coaching for a full four years, and it is a great feeling to see them succeed throughout their high school career. The entire team played wonderfully throughout the season and I am incredibly proud of each player within our program."
Reflecting on Wednesday’s loss, the coach said the Pebblebrook squad was skilled in their attack and control of the ball, which gave them a 2-0 lead in the first half.
"We made two very big mistakes that allowed the opportunity for these goals and within the state playoffs every team is good enough to make you pay for your missed chances and defensive mistakes," he said. "That is exactly what Pebblebrook’s midfield was able to do during the first half."
But the coach said the Tigers came out strong in the second, controlling the pace and movement of the ball. He said a nearly mistake-free second half shifted the momentum to his squad.
"Chris Schuster scored an unbelievable goal within the first 12 minutes of the second half and really put our team back into the game" he said. "From that point, we pressed their defense and came up unlucky on goal."
Cooke said his squad pushed the opponent for a press attack when they suffered a turnover.
Pebblebrook capitalized and scored their final goal to win 3-1.
Cooke said next season poses new challenges.
"We will be a very young team next year and it will be great to develop and see the young players take over the team," he said. "We will be returning with very skilled players, but we will also have to fill the big shoes left by this year’s seniors. But I again want to thank each of my players for all of their hard work and a great season."