MCS boys win tourney in shootout against Ellenville
By Julia Green
It was the fourth time that turned out to be the charm for Margaretville Head Coach Jeremey Marks, as the Blue Devils clinched their first Nelson Invitational Tourna-ment title in Marks’ four years at the helm on Saturday night with a thrilling win determined by a penalty kick shootout following two scoreless overtime periods.
“I was proud of how our players conducted themselves, and our fans and the community,” Marks said. “I thought the atmosphere was great, I thought the fans came out and supported us on a not-so-nice night weather-wise, and I’ve heard a lot of nice things about the team since. It was just an overall good team win.”
After defeating Schenevus 5-1 in the opening round to advance to the championship match, the Blue Devils found themselves facing Ellenville for the third time in as many years.
“We always know what we’re up against when we play Ellenville,” Marks said. “They’re well-coached; Max [Mead] does a great job with them. They have great overall team speed, they’re highly skilled, and we look forward to playing them because we know it’s going to be a good test for us.”
Marks added that the Blue Devils’ game plan going into Saturday’s championship was to limit touches on the ball.
“Our mental approach was that we had to do everything faster and with more urgency,” he said. “If we were going to have scoring opportunities, they had to be fast-developing. It had to be one- and two-touch, then get rid of it.”
It was back and forth for most of the game between two evenly-matched teams that tallied 11 shots apiece, and the speed that has served Margaretville’s offense well this season was challenged by equally quick Ellenville defenders. Margaretville stopper Patrick O’Connell played a key role for the Blue Devils, winning nearly everything that came anywhere near him in the air, and stingy Blue Devils’ outside backs, Iso Desic and Jacob Johnson, allowed Ellenville’s offense few opportunities to penetrate.
“I thought our defense played great,” Marks said. “It all starts with our guys really challenging to win that first ball, and Jacob, Patrick, Iso and Mitch – I thought they rose to the occasion.”
The unquestionable stalwart of the night was Margaretville goalkeeper Brian Faulkner, who produced a game-saving sliding save when he found himself alone and facing two oncoming Ellenville attackers with mere minutes remaining in regulation.
“Brian came up with some big saves,” Marks said. “He was ready to come off his line, he was into the game the entire time, he was anticipating what was going on the entire time and I thought he played outstanding. He’s a presence back there. I thought he read the game extremely well on Saturday night. If we had to give an MVP of the tournament, it would have been him.”
After battling to a scoreless tie in regulation, the game was forced into overtime. Margaretville very nearly clinched the win at the end of the second overtime period, when a long throw-in by O’Connell into the Ellenville 18-yard box popped back out and Tyler Smith drove it into the far-post side of the net; however, referees indicated that time had already expired and the fate of the game was placed at the penalty kick spot.
Margaretville opted to kick first, and it was Javier Martinez who found the net to put the Blue Devils up 1-0 in the five-round shootout. Ellenville equalized, making their first attempt to make it 1-1. Cody Fronckowiak struck second, putting Margaretville ahead 2-1, and Faulkner knocked down Ellenville’s second attempt to give the Blue Devils a one-goal edge. Abraham Morales made Margaretville’s third penalty kick, followed by another successful Ellenville attempt to make it 3-2. Tyler Smith made number four for the Blue Devils, and Faulkner came up with the game-winning save, batting down Ellenville’s fourth attempt to seal the win for Margaretville.
Faulkner totaled eight saves on the night.
“The guys really wanted this one,” Marks said. “I know the seniors who had never won a Nelson before… I was happy for them. I wanted this for them, too, because we’ve lost in the finals the last three years, so to come out and finally get one was satisfying. For me personally, too, because it’s the first one I’ve won as a coach.”
Marks, a Margaretville graduate, was part of the teams that won three Nelson championships between 1990 and 1993. MCS has won a total of nine Nelson titles – more than any other team – since the tournament began in 1989.
“This was one of our team goals along the way,” he said of Saturday’s Nelson victory, “and we’ve accomplished it, and now we’re moving on to the next one.”
In their first-round game against Schenevus on Friday night, the Blue Devils received two goals and two assists from Marcus Moore and two goals from Tyler Smith, who now has 10 on the season. Peter Cella also scored for Margaretville, who is now 6-0-1 this season and will travel to Downsville on Thursday. The Blue Devils host visiting Charlotte Valley at 4:15 p.m. on Monday.
The Roxbury boys suffered a tough 1-0 loss at the hands of the host JayHawks of Jefferson on Thursday. Jefferson struck early, tallying the lone goal of the game just over seven minutes into play on a long shot from 18 yards out.
“We gave up one early, and then it was us trying to play catch-up the whole night,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Faraci. “We had some good opportunities, especially late in the game, but we just couldn’t find someone to put it away there. But it was a good effort, a good game.”
Jefferson’s goal came from the left-hand side of the field and squeaked in on the near side, beating Roxbury goalkeeper Garrett Hall to the near post.
After that, however, Faraci said the remainder of the game was back and forth, and the Rockets seemed to dominate as time wound down.
“In the later half of the second half, we were pressing and kind of holding… we had some great opportunities,” he said. “It was a pretty evenly matched game.”
He added that the last 20 minutes were without a doubt the strongest his team played.
“I tell my guys, with a roster of 14, I wouldn’t think that would be our strongest time of the game,” he said. “We didn’t open up the game real well, but I think we finished fairly strong.”
The Rockets turned it around on Saturday, when they defeated the host Wildcats of Hunter-Tannersville in penalty kicks in the championship match of the Hunter-Tannersville Booster Club Tournament.
Roxbury took an early lead when the Hunter goalkeeper came out to challenge a through ball played to Kevin Lutz and Lutz slid the ball past him for the Rockets’ lone goal. It appeared that the Rockets would be able to hold on to their one-goal lead for the win until the ten-minute mark, when Hunter equalized to force the game into overtime. The two teams battled through two overtime periods but neither was able to find the net, sending the game into penalty kicks.
Jacob Liberatore, Kevin Lutz, Ed Williams and Kyle Ciaravino converted on their PK attempts for the Rockets and Roxbury keeper Garrett Hall was able to save two of Hunter’s attempts to give Roxbury the win and the tournament title.
“The first half I thought we played well and the second half, they probably held a lot of the momentum,” Faraci said. “Especially in the second part of the half.”
Following a 2-1 overtime loss at Stamford on Monday, the Rockets moved to 1-5-5 overall as they head into their BYE week.
“I think that we’re constantly seeing improvement and getting a little bit better, and I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Faraci said. “And I think everything will look a little bit better if we find a way to put something in the net. We haven’t scored a lot of goals, but we’ve been in almost every game so far.”
The Andes boys’ unbeaten streak came to a tough end last Tuesday, when the Mountaineers dropped a close 3-2 decision to visiting Stamford.
Peter Fabrykiewicz and Cody Ruff tallied goals for the Mountaineers to bring them within one, but they were unable to find the net again to equalize.
The Mountaineers rebounded, however, to post a convincing 5-0 win at Windham on Thursday. Fabrykiewicz tallied a hat trick to bring his season total to 13 goals, with the first coming less than five minutes into the game. He also had an assist on the second goal of the game, scored by Ian Wright toward the end of the first half. The Mountaineers also received a goal from Eric Reed.
It was a game heavy on the scoring opportunities, as Andes out-shot the Warriors 34-22 and held a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.
The Mountaineers rallied again on Monday, outlasting a strong host Gilboa team, 3-2. A tough Andes squad, playing through illness and a few men down, battled with the host Wildcats, led by Peter Fabrykiewicz, who tallied two of the Mountaineers’ three goals, including the game-winner with less than three minutes left in regulation that broke a 2-2 tie. The goals mark Fabrykiewicz’s 14th and 15th of the season.
Andes also received a goal from Ian Wright, who gave the Mountaineers a 2-1 lead with two minutes remaining in the first half to give them a one-goal margin at halftime.
Goalkeeper Josh Bonafacic tallied 15 saves for Andes, which moved to 6-1 on the season. The Mountaineers will face Jefferson at home on Thursday.