Bitchell scores twice, Georgetown wins first ever Division 3 North title
Saturday, November, 12
By Christopher Smith
LYNN — Georgetown coach Chris DiFranco’s message to his team was simple last night after his Royals won the Division 3 North title.
He told his players they are the best team ever in Georgetown boys soccer history.
The No. 1 seeded Royals posted an impressive 2-0 victory over No. 2 seeded Lynnfield here at the Manning Bowl to claim the program’s first ever Division 3 North championship.
“I think it’s a good starting point,” senior Matt Bitchell said about the championship. “We want more.”
Bitchell scored both Georgetown goals. The star senior forward has netted 23 goals this fall and he’s an athlete on a mission with some extra motivation.
That’s because Bitchell’s father, Paul Bitchell, died during last season from a heart problem.
Paul, who died Sept. 14, 2010 at 52 years old, had a tremendous influence on Matt’s soccer career, including coaching Matt in the Georgetown Youth Soccer program.
Bitchell said he always thinks about his father when he is playing soccer.
“He always pushed me through soccer,” Bitchell said. “He always helped me become a better player and always wanted me to play.”
Paul’s obituary in The Daily News stated that he loved all sports.
“He felt honored and privileged for the crowning achievement of taking two teams to the Massachusetts State Tourney finals, winning one state championship and placing second in another,” the obituary read. “He was involved with Georgetown youth sports for over 15 years, and was proud to have coached his children.”
“Of course it’s ... tough losing a father,” Bitchell said. “But you just have to push through it.”
This Georgetown team is one in which Paul would have been very proud.
The Royals are 18-1-3, CAL champs and two wins away from being state champs.
“We didn’t graduate any seniors (from last year’s team) so we had some good unity (returning),” Bitchell said. “We came back and played well as a team this year.”
Georgetown’s only loss during the regular came against Lynnfield, who beat the Royals 1-0 on Oct. 11.
The Royals also had lost 2-1 to Lynnfield in the Division 3 North first round last November.
“Last year we beat them in the regular season and they beat us in the playoffs,” Georgetown’s Ryan Browner said. “So it was huge being able to come and beat them this year.”
Browner recorded the assist on Bitchell’s first goal.
Browner stole the ball from a Lynnfield player and made a perfect pass to Bitchell.
“I just put pressure on him, trying to make them make mistakes and then I just heard Matt say, ‘Ball,’” Browner said. “And if I hear him say ‘ball’ I just get him the ball and he finished well.”
Browner said Bitchell probably is one of the best players to come through the Royals program.
“He’s fast and he has a left and right foot,” Browner said about Bitchell. “He’ll play anywhere on the field and he’s not selfish. I think he led the team in assists and goals.”
DiFranco added about Bitchell: “Matt’s been an unbelievable two-year captain, four-year varsity player. One of the leading goal scorers in the league. League MVP. Just unbelievable. Brings it every day. Works as hard as he can and wherever we put him, he’s just a great leader, great player.”
DiFranco said his team's goal entering this year was to win the CAL title and Division 3 North final.
“We did both so that’s amazing,” he said.
“It’s sweet,” DiFranco added. “They’re the only team that’s beat us this year. And to come out and win 2-0 and just play with such composure, our boys deserve a lot of credit.”
Goals: Matt Bitchell 2
Assists: Ryan Browner, Max Harper
Saves: G — Ben Warren 7; L — Nicholas Romano 5