MCS Boys bounce Jefferson and H&T
By John Bernhardt
On the soccer field, it’s almost as if Kyle Short and Matt VanValkenburg can read each other’s minds. The Margaretville strikers work in unison perfectly executing give-and-go touch passing sequences and choreographing well timed lead passes to vacated spots on the field.
The end result: the dynamic Blue Devil duo has teamed to net 10 goals in Margaretville’s first three contests.
Short and VanValkenburg are the primary focus of an explosive Blue Devil offensive attack. Complicating the dilemma for Margaretville opponents is the fact the Blue Devils have multiple scoring weapons. Thursday, seven different Blue Devils found the nets as Margaretville routed Jefferson, 8-0. VanValkenburg scored two times.
Tuesday Margaretville squared off against Hunter-Tannersville on Pete Palen Field. Short was everywhere. The junior striker scored twice and assisted a VanValkenburg goal as Margaretville bested their guests, 5-0.
Ten minutes into the game, Short weaved the ball down the middle of the field with only one defender between him and the goalie. Short and the challenging Wildcat defender converged, the ball squirting away some 10 yards to the left. First to the ball, VanValkenburg juked just enough to lure the defender two steps in his direction then tipped a pass back to Short who racked up the games first score.
H-T goalie Neil Statts was terrific tending the nets withstanding a fierce Blue Devil onslaught. Statts’ quick reflex stops robbed Short of at least two more score during the opening half.
Offensively, H-T was almost dormant. Danny Legg’s blast from four yards outside the top of the box was the Wildcat’s first shot on goal after 19 minutes of play. H-T would only take two shots in the half.
With just under two minutes to play in the half, Short lofted a perfect cross from the right wing finding VanValkenburg. The heads-up sophomore settled the pass then chipped a high, soft shot that floated over Statt’s head giving Margaretville a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Devil tandem paired to add a third score 10 minutes into the second half. This time it was VanValkenburg on the move carrying the ball down the right sideline. Angling from the corner toward the goal, VanValkenburg read a defensive counter, and tipped a soft cross over the crease finding a streaking Short at the far pole for the score.
Five minutes later Short appeared to have a hat trick. An H-T defender denied the Blue Devil forward his third score, raising an arm and battling down a shot destined for the back of the nets. Victor Mendoza pounded the ensuing penalty kick past Statts for Margaretville’s fourth goal.
Mendoza found Caleb Todd approaching the top of the box with a high volley later in the half. Todd took one dribble before ripping a hard shot along the ground into the goal for the game’s final score.
Thursday against Jefferson, Todd, Short, Sam Gil, Jovani Ramirez, Diego Caamano, and Ryan Sanford all netted single goals to go with VanValkenburg’s two tallies.
VanValkenburg, Todd, Caamano, Cooper Reither, Dylan Shaffer, Mike Conroy, Alex Serdiouk, and even the goalie, Mitch Hull, all had assists.
Caronia paces Rockets
Sturdy, strong, and resolute, Dakota Caronia is an imposing presence on the soccer field, the anchor of Roxbury’s defense. The senior sweeper presents a daunting challenge for opposing strikers. The Rockets built a stingy defense around the hard-nosed play of Caronia when they opened their Delaware League schedule edging visiting Davenport , 2-1.
A defense mix-up cost the Rockets a goal early in the contest. Five minutes into the game, Kyle Beang through ball past the Roxbury defensive line setting up a Corey Hartman score. After that the Roxbury defense stiffened.
The Davenport goal was erased at 24:18 of the opening half. Chris Clark drove the ball deep down the right sideline before sending a well directed cross that cleared the Wildcat keeper, Chris Kopt, finding Garrett Hinkley all alone on the far post. Hinkley pushed a shot inside the pole to tie the score.
Clark nabbed the game winner five minutes later. The beneficiary of a long, high Caronia sideline throw-in, Clark rutted a loose ball from a scrum toward the center of the box and fired a shot. Fortunately, the last Wildcat defender between Clark and the goal took to the air, and Clark’s strike skidded under his feet and past Kopf for the winning tally.
With Caronia directing the effort, Roxbury’s defense was the story the rest of the way. Desperate to find the nets, Davenport bumped up their intensity and physicality in the second half. The Rocket defense passed the test.
Senior Nick Hamil logged a critical double dose of defensive wizardry just inside the 30- minute mark. A Davenport striker slipped a cross over the goal crease leaving Roxbury goalie William Rendler blocked with little access to the ball. Hamil arrived at the loose ball a second ahead of a charging Wildcat striker and cleared it off the field outside the goal setting up a Davenport corner.
The corner kick, a banana shaped strike, seemed destined for the nets, but Rendler was able to bat it forward some 15 yards in front of the left pole. This time, Hamil used his body to fend away the closest Wildcat then cleared the ball up the field.
Late in the half Davenport’s Mike Libby had two promising looks at the goal but couldn’t connect. With 10:46 remaining, a Wildcat corner found Libby with open space to the far side of the goal. His shot sailed wide right. One minute later, Libby went high above a crowd of players playing a direct kick out of the air directly in front of the goal. This time his shot sailed over the crossbar.
The game was evenly played throughout with Roxbury shooting on goal 10 times to Davenport’s nine tries. The Rockets had seven corner kicks, one more than their opponents.