Blue Devil boys roll to 7th win
By John Bernhardt
Stifling defensive play, solid play in the midfield, and varied yet explosive offense add up to a season opening seven consecutive victories for the Margaretville boys’ soccer team. The Blue Devil’s capped off a four-win week by racing past Stamford, 5-1 on Pete Palen Field Monday night.
Championship play in any sport starts with defense, and Margaretville’s defense has been stellar all season. Only four balls, one a penalty kick, have gotten past Margaretville’s veteran goalie, Mitch Hull, this year. No Blue Devils’ opponent has scored more than a single goal in a game.
Adding to Margaretville’s defensive prowess is the consistent, solid play of senior Sean Gauntt and junior James Warner. In his third season as the Margaretville sweeper, Gauntt’s decision-making and overall defensive support is outstanding. Warner compliments Gaunt with lightning fast speed plus the ability to jump start offensive runs with pinpoint passing to open areas of the field. The defensive pair provides stability and reassurance for two sophomore outside fullbacks, Yair Sanchez and Alex Serdiouk, playing their first year of varsity soccer.
A Kyle Short hat trick gave Margaretville all the offense they would need Monday night against Stamford. Short teed up a Colby Russo corner kick from close range just two minutes into the game to start his scoring spree.
Short played long ball, lifting a long high volley from 30 plus yards along the right sideline for the second score. The ball floated over the goalie’s head and just below the crossbar giving the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead.
Center midfielder Victor Mendoza finished the first half scoring with Margaretville’s third goal.
Stamford used a throw-in to get on the scoreboard early in the second half. A long Gregg Mattice throw found Wade Thompson for the score.
Matt VanValkenburg drove deep down the right sideline then somehow tiptoed along the end line past two Indian defenders before nailing Margaretville’s fourth goal. Mitch Hull fired a long goal throw to ignite the final scoring drive. The Hull toss reached the circle where Short and VanValkenburg played ‘One-Touch’ tipping the ball back and forth before Short found the nets for the third time.
VanValkenburg scored two times Saturday when Margaretville downed Milford in a well-played non-league encounter on the Hall of Fame field in Oneonta.
Short and VanVakenburg each scored twice when the Blue Devils bested Gilboa, 4-1, on the Wildcats home field. Short’s overtime goal was the only score when Margaretville edged South Kortright in overtime, 1-0, earlier in the week.
The big question surrounding the Roxbury boys’ soccer team during the preseason was, “Who will score?” At first glance, it looked as if the Rockets had a satisfactory answer when five different players found the nets in Roxbury’s 5-1 win Tuesday over Gilboa. But, no consistent answer has emerged after the Rockets only managed to score single goals in back-to-back defeats to Hunter-Tannersville and SK.
Garrett Hinkley has blazing speed on the front line. Hinkley found the nets scoring the first of five unassisted goals only 10 minutes into Tuesday’s game at Gilboa. Spencer Hinkley and Chris Clark both added goals by the half.
The Rockets, who took 14 shots to Gilboa’s eight, got second-half goals form Chris Wolcott and Joe McAfee. Hunter Grace scored the lone goal for Gilboa.
Zack Mudge and Dylan Endy teamed to spoil the Rockets’ good fortune Thursday in Roxbury. Endy set up a Mudge score in the first half giving the visitors a one-goal advantage.
Chris Clark used an assist from Spencer Hinkley, riffling a shot from inside the box to even the game at 1-1. But, Endy turned a Mudge through ball into a one-on-one scoring chance with 15 minutes to play and nabbed the game winner.
Yesterday, it was all South Kortright as the Rams ran past Roxbury, 5-1, on their home field. Less than five minutes into the game, eighth grader Sam Fabrykiewicz worked the ball on a dribble deep down the right sideline before firing a hard shot that glanced off Rocket goalie, Will Rendler’s hands. Ty Magnum manned the off pole and banged the rebound home.
Fifteen minutes later, Dylan Boest staged a footrace with Rendler chasing down a long through ball. The striker and the goal arrived almost simultaneously with the ball squirting away from both and finding Dan Nelson with no Roxbury defender between him and the goal. Nelson’s shot made it 2-0.
Fabrykiewicz turned a high Dillon Cole sideline throw in, that was batted around, into the Rams’ third score with 6:33 left in the half. A Griffin Metsko header and a second Nelson score completed the South Kortright scoring in the second half.
Garrett Hinkley carried a ball deep toward the right corner then angled it back at the goal before hitting Roxbury’s lone goal with just over 19 minutes to play in the game. Roxbury finished the week at 3-4, 2-2.