Margaretville Boys finish season at 15-0

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By John Bernhardt
Put it in the books. The Margaretville boys’ soccer team completed season number one Friday, an undefeated walk through their regular fall campaign by toppling Downsville, 3-0, on the Eagles’ home field.
The victory ups the Blue Devils’ season mark to a perfect 15-0. The Blue Devils have one week to prepare for the second leg of their season, the Delaware League Crossover Championship game versus South Kortright to be held at Oneonta’s Hall of Fame Fields on Saturday.
The Blue Devils and Eagles battled evenly for a huge chunk of the first half. Margaretville had the only genuine scoring opportunity in the early going when a through ball broke the top of the box. Downsville goalie Dylan Fisk charged forward sliding to gather in the ball, but somehow the ball traveled underneath him untouched. Blue Devil striker Kyle Short streaked past to get off a shot, but the ball deflected off the legs of Downsville’s Mike Tompkins who was retreating to defend the vacated goal.
As he has been on several occasions during the second half of the season, Roberto Sarabia was a central figure in the Blue Devils’ regular season ending victory. Sarabia got help from an unusual source on his first goal, Margaretville goalie Marvin Morales. A long Morales boot from in front of the nets sailed a whisker higher than the head of the last Eagle defender with Sarabia playing the ball in flight off his body, carrying it several dribbles to some six yards beyond the top of the box, then ripping a lightning fast bullet into the left side of the goal.
Sarabia was back at it again later in the half, this time floating a perfect pass from the offensive edge of the center circle to the center of the box. Margaretville’s Matt VanValkenburg and the Eagle goalie Fisk went up in the air at the same time after the hanging pass. VanValkenburg got there first, playing the ball off his head and past Fisk into the nets.

Tops in points
VanValkenburg’s goal was his 15th of the season. The Blue Devil striker sits on top of the area scoring leader board with 42 points. Cooperstown’s Jordan Manikas has scored more goals than VanValkenburg with 17, but the Margaretville striker has nearly as many assists as goals, besting Manikas in that department 12-3. Complimenting Margaretville’s team play and scoring balance, the Blue Devils sport three of the top 10 area scorers with Cooper Reither and Kyle Short joining VanValkenburg on the list.
Neither team could gain traction for most of the second half. It was Downsville that had the best opportunity to score when Anthony Shioros sent a high volley toward the goal with Morales stretching just high enough to get one hand on the ball and bat it away from the nets for a corner.

Insurance score
Sarabia nabbed Margaretville’s final goal of the contest settling a Rudy Vazquez pass inside the top corner of the box, juking back and forth over the ball to fake an Eagle defender, than blasting a rocket that burned the nets just inside the near pole.
South Kortright sent a message that they plan to have a say in this fall’s Delaware League championship by upsetting Davenport, 3-1, on Friday. Only Margaretville (3-0) and SK have beaten the Wildcats this year. South Kortright finishes the regular season at 9-3-2. Last fall Margaretville and South Kortright played to a tie in the championship tilt. Save the date. It should be a good one.