The Crusaders were undoubtedly the underdog heading into Bedford on Saturday, but Kevin Minueza said it best following his game-winning penalty kick, “Seeds don’t mean a thing in the playoffs.”
Manchester defeated Bedford earlier in the season in a 1-0 fight to the end, this rematch proved to be more of the same. The Crusaders held the top seeded Bulldogs in check throughout the entire game, not allowing a goal during regulation or overtime. It was evident that neither team was going to budge, as they went into overtime tied at 0-0.
Overtime was just as ineffective as regulation. The Crusaders and Bulldogs were forced to go to penalty kicks to decide who would move on to face Concord. Both teams finally snuck the ball past the keepers, including a series of goals by Francisco Velazquez, Rodrigo Rodriguez, and Jordan Trombly. But the Crusader who put the Bulldogs to rest was junior defender, Kevin Minueza, who recorded the fourth and final goal for his team, and sent Memorial to the final four.
This 2016 boys soccer team is certainly giving the school plenty of hope for a state championship, which would be the first since the hockey team took home the title in 2013. This squad has the heart and perseverance to take home the hardware if they’re able to maintain this elite level. The Crusader soccer team will head out to Exeter, where they will meet up with the Concord Crimson Tide. If Manchester has any more tricks up their sleeve, and are able to pull off another upset, they will find themselves playing for a state championship at Southern New Hampshire University.