WP b soccer 102921

Worcester Prep junior captain Jack Gardner tries to head an incoming ball during Tuesday’s ESIAC semifinals game against Holly Grove in Berlin. He had two goals in the 3-0 win.

(Oct. 29, 2021) From goalie to goal scorer, Worcester Prep junior captain Jack Gardner netted two shots to help lead his team to victory over the Holly Grove Eagles in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference semifinals on Tuesday in Berlin.

“I used to play when I was younger and coach needed me to step up,” Gardner said.

His reaction when Coach Jon Adkins proposed moving Gardner from the goal to the forward line, he said laughing, “I thought he was crazy.”

“He’s played soccer his whole life and growing up he played some forward so we knew he had it in him,” Adkins said. “He got a little practice in last week. We tried a couple things because we had the first seed locked up.”

Adkins said he wasn’t surprised Gardner did so well on offense and scored.

“He’s one of our more talented field players,” he added. “He’s got a powerful shot, probably the most powerful shot on the team.

“He talks about it all the time. I’ve seen it, but he talks,” he added with a smile. “We all love Jack. He’s very confident and he backed it up today. It was good to see.”

Gardner scored his first goal just 17 seconds into the game. He netted his second at the 27:18 mark in the first half.

“I worked really hard for them. It was very exciting and a lot of fun,” Gardner said of scoring two goals.

“I felt like with [senior captain] Brice [Richins] down [because of injury], he gave us the best option to win and we knew that our two backup keepers could keep us in the game,” Adkins said. “I challenged the defense to really step up and limit the shots and they did a great job.”

Freshman Ben McGovern was successful on a penalty shot with about 10 minutes remaining in the game to boost Worcester’s advantage to three.

Freshman Dillon Scopp stepped in as goalie and recorded four saves. Two of the saves were penalty shots.

“Dillon Scopp, freshman goalie, his first start, did an awesome job,” Adkins said. “I can’t say enough about Dillon.”

“Dillon had a really good game. I really trust him in the goal,” Gardner said, adding that he gave him some tips. “I told him to keep talking, which he did great, and just keep us motivated.”

Adkins was pleased with the entire team’s performance.

“The whole team stepped up,” he said. “It was just a great team win. The bench was in it, everyone was in it.”

Worcester was scheduled to host the Gunston Herons, yesterday, Thursday, for the ESIAC championship title.

The teams are 1-1 this season. Worcester won the first matchup, 3-2, on Sept. 27. Gunston took the second on Oct. 21, 2-1.

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