Derby’s soccer players share at least one trait: passion — both for the sport and for each other. That’s why the team chants “family” in unison during games.
That passion was evident as Derby beat Goddard 5-0 on Tuesday.
The game, Derby’s eighth consecutive win, was also a tool to help heal a grieving team struggling to cope with the loss of senior midfielder Clayton Matzen, who died in a car accident Sunday.
“I was a little hesitant coming into the game,” Derby coach Paul Burke said. “I thought it was going to be the opposite, that we’d be really rusty or more emotion-filled, and that would dictate the game rather than us just getting back to soccer. But I think getting back to soccer will help. The game was amazing. We dominated the ball; almost every aspect of the game we dominated, which I didn’t expect.”
Derby was scheduled to play Andover on Monday, but postponed the game. Instead, the team went bowling, which turned out to be helpful preparation for its match against Goddard.
“(I told the team) a lot of truth, just be up front with them, not sugarcoat anything, because it’s not going to be easy,” Burke said. “(Matzen) would want to go have fun. I think (bowling) helped; it loosened them up a little. We got out here today, and they were pretty loose.”
The team wore T-shirts with Matzen’s name and number, and blue armbands in remembrance, while the spectators donned blue ribbons bearing the number 13. But Julio Vielmas gave tribute to his teammate in a different form. The senior was involved in all five of Derby’s goals, assisting three and scoring two.
“We talked a lot about, Derby’s going to be out here as therapy,” Goddard coach Ryan Rooney said. “You’re playing a game, you’re doing what you love, you’re getting away from all of that a little bit, and we really concentrated on that aspect of it.”
Vielmas combined with brother Hernan only 1:10 into the game for the team’s first goal, and found forward Alan Flores through Goddard’s defense to set Flores up with a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper and another Derby goal. Vielmas picked up the third goal with an assist from defender Austin Swindler, and found Hernan again to finish the half.
Vielmas finished the scoring with a shot slotted into the corner of Goddard’s goal, with three cuts to move through the Lions’ defense preceding his goal, and 18:16 remaining in the game.
“Julio does a lot of the hard work up top and sets people up,” Burke said. “Normally he doesn’t just get free runs all over the place, but tonight he was all over.”
Goddard’s Jonatan Sevilla and Zach Koch created a few opportunities in its offensive third in the second half, but without midfield support, the two couldn’t get a serious attempt at a goal.
“We were playing defense for 80 percent of the game at least,” Rooney said. “Your defense and midfield gets really worn out chasing all of those players, because they just run all over the field, they’ve got people shooting in and out of everywhere. We didn’t really support the ball enough.”
First half—Derby, H. Vielmas (J. Vielmas), Flores (J. Vielmas), J. Vielmas (Swindler), H. Vielmas (J. Vielmas). Second half—Derby, J. Vielmas (Chapman).
Shots—Derby 7-4—11; Goddard 1-2—3. Saves—Derby, Vaquera 1-2—3; Goddard, Babcock 3-3—6.