RCS defeats MCS in boys' soccer

Like the turning points that change the direction of a person’s life, there are often turning points in a sports team’s season. Midway through the second half in a game played on their own field last Wednesday, the Roxbury boy’s soccer team faced a decisive moment.

The Rockets were in trouble, trailing by two goals and in dire need of a win. After starting their season with a tie and a win, Roxbury dropped back-to-back contests to South Kortright. Three losses in a row threatened to evaporate the positive energy and good karma that came with Roxbury’s fast start. Roxbury needed an energy booster.

The Rocket booster came in the form of striker Dan Menne. With 22 minutes to play, Menne, a speedy senior with dazzling foot skills, converted a Spencer Hinkley pass to rip a shot into the Margaretville nets. Just like that the landscape changed for the Rockets.
Playing with newfound confidence, Roxbury needed one more energy injection from their catalyst.

The Rockets’ second burst of power started again with Menne, this time in the form of a through pass. Menne’s lead pass found senior Kyle Ciaravino who finished with a score. With nine minutes left, the Rockets were even 2-2.

Both teams had opportunities down the stretch. The best was an advance by Margaretville forward Matt VanValkenburg just before the buzzer at the end of regulation time that was turned away at the pole by Roxbury goalie Derek Cowan. VanValkenburg, a talented freshman, scored the first goal of his varsity career during first half play. Margaretville’s Sam Gill extended the lead to 2-0 10 minutes into the second half. Both Blue Devil goals were assisted by Iso Dedric.

But, this day belonged to Roxbury. The Rockets culminated their comeback four minutes before the end of the first overtime. The winning series started when Chris Clark intercepted a through ball. Clark sent a high bounding cross toward the middle of the crease that was trapped by Garrett Hinkley. The ball bounced away from Hinkley and stopped for what seemed like forever. Hinkley beat all defenders to the ball and sliced the winning shot to the inside of the far pole.
As bad as it seemed, as bad as it looked, as bad as it felt, after a brutal first week of their soccer season, the Margaretville boys soccer team is not yet out of the Delaware League’s Upper Division race.

A flood delayed start to the 2011 campaign forced the Blue Devils to play four times last week. Margaretville showed the rust that builds when floodwaters prevent practice and the normal learning curve of a team hit had by key graduation losses. The Blue Devils dropped three contests. The fourth game was suspended before halftime with Margaretville trailing 1-0 and will need to be continued at a later date.

You would think an 0-3 start would eliminate any hopes the Blue Devils might have of winning their fifth straight Delaware League Upper Division title. That is not the case.

One of the Margaretville losses was non-league, a 3-0 Saturday defeat in Delhi. A second loss came at the hands of defending Delaware League and Section IV champion South Kortright, a 4-0 pasting last Wednesday. That loss might not be as backbreaking as it appears.

SK went through the Delaware League last season without losing a game. The Rams have already toppled six of their nine Delaware League opponents this year, three in non-league contests. The Rams play in the Mountain Division. If they go undefeated in league play again this fall, the impact of the SK win over Margaretville is negated.

Margaretville’s chances are more about what lies ahead than what took place last week. None of last week’s losses were against Upper Division foes. For the Blue Devils to claw their way back into the race, they must best each of the teams in their division. If they do, and SK goes undefeated, the Blue Devils would erase their two-game deficit. The final standings would be determined by the results of interdivision play, not against the Rams, but against the remaining Mountain Division schools. If that scenario plays out, should the Blue Devils end in a tie at the top of the Upper Division, Margaretville would own the tiebreaker with every other Upper Division foe.

Improbable, yes! Impossible, no!