Blue Devils off to fast start in soccer

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By John Bernhardt
The Delaware League schedule presented two stiff opening season tests for the Margaretville boys’ soccer team. The Blue Devils earned high grades on both assessments, clearing a path for a probable title run. Margaretville shut out Davenport, 3-0, in their home opener last Tuesday then traveled to South Kortright and bested the Rams, 4-2, on Monday afternoon.

In Davenport, the Blue Devils faced their stiffest Upper Division test. The Wildcats, the Stamford Mayor’s Cup champions, entered the game undefeated and unscored upon. They were no match for Margaretville.

Margaretville got on the board quickly in a scoring series that started from the middle of the field when Kyle Short guided a lead pass down the right sideline finding Matt VanValkenburg. VanValkenburg lifted a cross toward the front of the goal with Victor Mendoza playing the ball out of the air to the left of the goal. Colby Russo slapped a shot against the back of the nets for a score.

The Blue Devils were at it again three minutes later. This time the series started on the defensive end of the field when James Warner won a ball, dribbled forward toward midfield and passed to Sam Gill. Gill touched a pass finding Short, and the speedy forward drove one-on-one on the keeper, finessing a shot into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

Margaretville controlled the first half action taking eight shoots to Davenport’s two, but the Wildcats challenged in the second half outshooting their hosts, 10-8. Margaretville goalie Marvin Morales excelled in the nets making several tough saves.

A muffed Davenport goal kick set up Margaretville’s final score, when Cooper Reither intercepted the volley just outside the box and skidded a hard shot into the left hand corner of the goal.

Devils top Rams
Monday in South Kortright, the Blue Devils dominated the Rams in the first half, taking 15 shots and scoring four times to SK’s one-shot attempt. SK goalie Brett Post played well in the early going making save after save to keep the Blue Devils at bay. Margaretville teamed to finally get a shot past Post with 16:58 remaining.

The scoring series started with a Colby Russo pass from the left wing finding VanValkenburg at the top of the box. The heads-up junior threaded a pass to Reither on the right wing. Reither’s shot was deflected by Post with VanValkenburg their to tap home the rebound.

One minute later, Margaretville struck again. This time Diego Caamano won a ball driving forward down the right sideline then passing inside to a streaking Cooper Reither who fired a scoring strike inside the left pole.

On the board
VanValkenburg drove a ball down the right sideline sidestepping past an SK defender then checked a pass to the top of the box where Kyle Short rifled a left-footed bullet under the pole for the third Blue Devil score at 11:01 in the half.

Thirty seconds later Sam Gill netted the final Margaretville goal in the opening-half salvo dribbling three times from the left sideline toward the middle of the field then firing a shot. The ball deflected off Post with Gill bursting forward and driving a follow-up strike that rocketed between the goalies legs and into the net giving Margaretville a 4-0 lead.

SK did settle after halftime, taking seven shots on goal to Margaretville’s five and scoring two times. Ryan Sluiter’s corner kick took a banana like route to the goal with Morales going high to grab the volley. The Blue Devil keeper turned to the inside as he descended with Sam Fabrykiewicz dislodging the ball out of his hands and into the nets for SK’s first tally. Dylan Boest nailed the game’s last score with 1:09 to play.

The Blue Devils continue their schedule in Nelson Tournament play in Margaretville on Friday.