Blue Devils break away in boys' soccer league

By John Bernhardt
It was time for the Margaretville Blue Devils to set themselves apart from the pack in the Delaware League’s boys’ soccer race. A crowded schedule last week saw the Blue Devils playing three league opponents, with a chance to stake their claim as the team to beat in the Upper Division. The Blue Devils did just that, downing Downsville 4-1 at home before besting two contenders, Davenport, 3-1, and Andes, 3-0, on the road.
“It was definitely a good week for us in the league,” emphasized Blue Devil Coach Jeremey Marks. “Downsville played us hard on Tuesday, it’s always great to get out of Davenport with a win, and you can count on a spirited match-up when you play at Andes.”
The Blue Devils had their hands full in the first half at Andes. The local rivals battled back and forth for most of the half until Josh Smith found the nets for Margaretville with just over two minutes remaining.
“Andes played us more than even in the first half,” Marks noted. “Adjusting to the small field can be difficult, but we finally settled down and started playing wide and started changing fields. No matter the size of the field, to be successful, we have to play our game.”
Margaretville used every inch of Andes’ field in netting the game’s first score. Sophomore Cody Fronckowiak hustled hard to keep the ball in play along the left sideline of the Blue Devils’ offensive end. Fronckowiak used his heel to stop the ball just inside the sideline, and then tipped a pass to Abraham Morales, who crossed a deep pass to Javier Martinez near the end line to the right of the goal. Martinez found Smith at close range in front of the net. Andes’ goalie Josh Bonofacic got a piece of Smith’s strike but couldn’t prevent the score.
“Getting that one goal right before the half was a game changer,” explained Marks. “That score seemed to deflate the Andes guys.”
In fact, only fate and some great defensive work by Margaretville fullback Guy Nobile prevented Andes from grabbing a lead early in the game.
The Mountaineers managed the impossible early in the contest, hitting both posts on a single shot without scoring a goal. From the right wing, Peter Fabrykiewiez sizzled a hard shot toward the left corner. The shot hit the pole and caromed to the right, crossing the entire goal face, striking the right post before deflecting away.
Nobile stopped an Andes goal later in the half. This time, Fabrykiewiez and Eric Reed completed a four-pass, give-and-go series that ended with Reed blasting a hard shot to the left of Margaretville goalie Brian Faulkner. Quick reflexes helped Faulkner get a hand on the ball, the shot deflecting left, but Guy Nobile was there to clear it away.
Bonofacic was brilliant in the nets for Andes. After a defensive breakdown, the junior tender stopped a one-on-one Josh Smith breakaway. With less than 30 seconds in the half, Bonofacic pulled in a Fronckowiak head shot off a corner at point-blank range.
Margaretville used the energy of their first score to dominate the opening 12 minutes of the second half. Only an impossible Bonofacic diving save prevented a second Blue Devils’ goal at the end of a scoring run off the opening kickoff. Eight minutes later, Bonofacic leapfrogged from the ground over Marcus Moore to stop another scoring threat.
But, Martinez scored twice to add some Blue Devils’ insurance. The junior used a push pass from Josh Smith through the middle of the field for his first goal and, moments later, turned a similar pass from Fronckowiak into another score.
The Andes offense reawakened, but Brian Faulkner went high three times to deflect possible scoring strikes safely over the crossbar.
Marks was pleased with the results of several position changes Margaretville utilized during its productive week including Faulkner’s move into the nets. Marcus Moore was moved from the back line to the midfield to shore up the midfield and Patrick O’Con-nell provided support to the defensive line.
MCS hosts undefeated South Kortright on Thursday.

Mitch VanKeuren of MCS and Pete Fabrykiewicz of Andes battle for possession last week. -Photo by Dick Sanford