MCS squads down RCS in both boys' and girls' soccer play

By John Bernhardt
They strike with lightning-like intensity; sudden, unexpected and devastating. That was the case on Friday when Margaretville’s boys’ soccer team surged past visiting Roxbury, 2-0, on Pete Palen Field. The victory extended the Blue Devils’ unbeaten streak to 12 games. Margaretville is 11-0-1 on the season.

The flow and tempo of the first 25 minutes of the game belonged to Roxbury. The Rockets amassed seven corner kicks and seven shots on goal during that span against two corners and a single shot for Margaretville. Any challenge for a 50/50 ball was a foregone conclusion. A Rocket would arrive first at the ball.

Goals not happening
But, Roxbury failed to capitalize. The Rockets combined blazing front-line speed by seniors Garrett and Spencer Hinkley and junior Kris Walcutt and assertive midfield play from Derek Cowan and Chris Clark to manufacture several could-have-been-scoring opportunities but couldn’t find the nets.

Three Rocket scoring chances were particularly noteworthy. Spencer Hinkley got things going four-and-one-half minutes into the contest when he settled a Clark pass, finessed the ball beyond a Margaretville defender, drove the ball deep into the corner and banged a shot off the near pole.

Two minutes later Clark fired a curling corner kick headed for the nets that Margaretville defender James Warner played off his body and away from the goal. Before long, Walcutt got into the act, his direct kick finding Garrett Hinkley near the goal. Hinkley played the ball off one hop toward the nets, but Margaretville keeper Mitch Hull was there for the save.

Devils storm back
Like a microburst within a thunderstorm, a Margaretville scoring sequence erased the Roxbury momentum. A Sam Gil direct kick initiated the chain of events. Gil’s strike found open space running into the left corner that Matt VanValkenberg quickly filled. The heads-up sophomore directed a well-placed cross Kyle Short headed into the right hand corner of the goal. With 15:01 remaining in the half, the Margaretville goal would fundamentally alter the course of the game.

Gil actually primed the Margaretville offense a minute earlier. His corner kick arrived unscathed in front of the Blue Devils’ goal with outside fullback Colby Russo charging forward uncontested toward the ball. As Russo arrived and twisted to bang the ball home, he slid on the muddy playing surface and was unable to get a solid foot to the ball.

Tight second half
The two rivals battled evenly deep into the second half with the significance of the game’s second goal growing with each minute of play. Should Roxbury score, the game would be tied and the drama would soar. A Margaretville goal would almost put the game out of reach with Blue Devil senior goalie Mitch Hull having one of his strongest games, both directing and positioning defenders and stopping shots.

First up was Garrett Hinkley just 1:40 into the final half. Hinkley used some fancy footwork to get past a Margaretville outside defender, drove the ball down the sideline and then angled his path directly at the goal. The Hinkley cannon sailed high.

Margaretville’s Caleb Todd countered 30 seconds later, firing a high, hard strike from 26 yards deep forcing Roxbury goalie Will Rendler to take to the air to pull the shot down.

A beautiful three-step Roxbury passing series with the ball moving from Walcutt to Clark to Garrett Hinkley, from the right side to the middle to the left side, ended with Hinkley’s shot lifting over the bar.

Hull’s diving stop preserved the tie at 27:44 to play. This time Hinkley lifted a cross from the right wing through a crowd in front of the net finding an unmarked Joe McAfee. McAfee’s strike had goal written all over it, but Hull’s diving save prevented the score.

Kyle Short had two near scores within a two-minute span for Margaretville. Short headed a Colby Russo cross that Rendler kept out of the goal then split two defenders to take a VanValkenburg lead pass for a point blank chance for a score. Short’s shot sailed wide.

The critical second goal, the Margaretville backbreaker, came with 14:19 to play. Russo sent a pass from the left midfield wing to VanValkenburg who drove the ball on an angle toward the goal. When the defense countered to stop his progress, VanValkenburg tipped a perfect pass finding Cooper Reither inside the box in the center of the field. Reither loaded and fired, his shot hitting the right pole and caroming to the left. VanValkenburg was there to clean up, tapping the bouncing ball into the nets to dash Roxbury’s hopes for a comeback.

The Blue Devils, who upended Hunter-Tannersville 3-0 on Tuesday, got help from H-T later in the week. Hunter played Davenport to a 1-1 tie providing added breathing room between Margaretville and their closest Upper Division competitor.

Short scored a pair of goals and VanValkenburg found the nets once in the H-T victory. Margaretville looks to continue their winning ways Thursday in Windham.

Girls’ soccer play
Six days previously, the Margaretville and Roxbury girls battled in the championship game of the Cohen Classic. Friday, the two local rivals were at it again, this time squaring off in a Delaware League match-up in Roxbury. Margaretville survived to bring home at 1-0, double-overtime victory running their season high winning streak to six games. The Blue Devils improve to 8-3 on the year.
Try as they may to rewrite the script, Roxbury’s offensive woes continue. Game after game, the Rockets unleash a scrappy defense that keeps them competitively within striking distance every time they take the field. Goal production that remains stuck at almost a standstill has been Roxbury’s undoing. That story was retold Friday night.

The Rockets slowed down a Margaretville offense that has been red hot. Entering Friday’s contest, the Blue Devils had scored 14 goals in their previous three games. An aggressive Roxbury defense shut down the Blue Devils’ goal scoring spree during regulation time with the second half ending in a scoreless tie.

Neither team could find the nets in the first overtime. In fact, there was only 1:25 remaining in the second overtime before Margaretville would break the deadlock. Tess Svoboda crossed a pass from the left wing to the middle of the box to set up the decisive shot. Elia Tanzer drilled the ball into the back of the nets for the game winner.

Roxbury’s Lisa Boyke recorded 10 saves on the night. Alexis Molnar stopped seven shots for Margaretville.

Raeann Bond scored twice to lead Margaretville over Hunter-Tannersville, 3-0, earlier in the week. Bond had bookend goals; chipping in the game’s first score then scoring on a header off a Tess Svoboda corner kick. Elia Tanzer added an unassisted score between the two Bond goals.
H-T came back to stun Davenport, 1-0, on Thursday handing the Wildcats their first Delaware League loss. The loss creates a logjam at the top of the Upper Division with Davenport and Margaretville sharing 4-1 records in Delaware League play.