Boys soccer: Williston Northampton’s season come to an end with 2-1 loss to Kimball Union Academy in Class B tourney (PHOTOS)

Williston’s Sokichi Sullivan (5), right, defends Kimball Union’s Shafi Ibrahim (7) during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton.

Williston’s Sokichi Sullivan (5), right, defends Kimball Union’s Shafi Ibrahim (7) during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Williston’s Gonzalo Perez Nunez (18), right, battles for possession with Kimball Union’s Shafi Ibrahim (7) during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton.

Williston’s Gonzalo Perez Nunez (18), right, battles for possession with Kimball Union’s Shafi Ibrahim (7) during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

 Kimball Union’s Shafi Ibrahim (7), center, holds possession while defended by Williston’s Sokichi Sullivan (5) and David Palacios Robles (8) during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton.

Kimball Union’s Shafi Ibrahim (7), center, holds possession while defended by Williston’s Sokichi Sullivan (5) and David Palacios Robles (8) during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Williston’s Manuel Gonzalez Hudson (10) holds possession of the ball against Kimball Union during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton.

Williston’s Manuel Gonzalez Hudson (10) holds possession of the ball against Kimball Union during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Williston’s Adrian Ruiz Boughton (3) defends a Kimball Union player during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton.

Williston’s Adrian Ruiz Boughton (3) defends a Kimball Union player during the Wildcats’ 2-1 loss in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals on Wednesday at Sawyer Field in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By BRADYN COTE

Staff Intern

Published: 11-15-2023 8:20 PM

EASTHAMPTON – The Williston Northampton School boys soccer team gave its best efforts in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals, ultimately falling 2-1 to Kimball Union Academy on Wednesday afternoon at Sawyer Field.

Proving that it was a high intensity game, KUA’s Cabot McLaren wasted no time as he fired a shot from the middle of the field, where it found the back of the net to give No. 5 Kimball (13-6-1) a quick 1-0 lead just 3 minutes, 37 seconds into the first half.

Without a goal from either team for the rest of the half, the visitors carried their 1-0 advantage into halftime.

Entering the second half of the game with a fresh 45 minutes on the scoreboard, fourth-seeded Williston (8-7-3) needed to get some momentum going in its favor.

About 13 minutes into the second half, Williston started to apply steady pressure on starting at midfield – ultimately progressing to Kimball’s side.

Leaving it all out on the field, Williston was able to earn three free kicks from the Kimball 30-yard line within a two-minute span. Despite not capitalizing on the first two opportunities – Williston did not back down when it desperately needed a score.

It was Tristan Kokoszka who initiated the team’s scoring play, taking a free kick and lofting it to Javier Barrera Gorostiza in a cluster of players about 10 yards in front of the goal. Without hesitation, Gorostiza’s ball found the back of the net and tied the game 1-1 with 30:28 left in the game.

“I’m super proud of the guys,” said Williston coach John Chiavaroli. “[Our team] had some amazing achievements, with some really big wins for a group of players that only had a small handful of returners. So a lot of new players that have never played in a playoff game before and have never seen our opponents before – that was a huge step.”

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Williston shared the lead for only about six minutes however, when KUA forward Shafi Ibrahim slotted home the game-winning goal with 24:23 remaining for a 2-1 lead. The Wildcats were unable to find another equalizer.

“Tonight, our players fought really hard,” said Chiavaroli. “I'm super proud of their efforts in these sorts of games where you're playing against an opponent that is equally matched, you know, it's a few bounces of the ball and the way that it goes that makes a difference that went their way tonight.”

Although Williston’s season came to an end with the l oss, the ’Cats made a lot of progress this year after losing key players. KUA advanced to play at No. 1 The Rivers Schools in the Class B semifinals on Saturday.