Rogue hop helps Stamford past Roxbury

By John Bernhardt
Sometimes one bounce of the ball can have a profound impact on a soccer game. That was the case Saturday in the second round of the Mayor’s Cup when host Stamford upended Roxbury, 3-0.
With the clock melting toward the midway point of the second half, two stories were unfolding at Archibald Field. The first plot was hard and factual and told by the scoreboard: Stamford 1 – Roxbury 0. The action on the field followed a different story line.

Short bench
With only two substitutes on their roster, Stamford was clearly winded. When action slowed or paused, more and more of the players wearing the home white were stooped forward, hands on their knees, chests heaving. Roxbury dominated play, the ball a pinball volleying forward and backward and side-to-side on the Rockets’ side of the field.

Yet, one bounce can instantly change the tenor or a soccer match. That was exactly the case when Stamford senior Erik Ehrhart carried the ball just inside the midfield line and lofted a high lead pass in the general direction of the goal. A streaking teammate, Wade Thompkins, drew the Roxbury defense, including goalie Will Rendler, away from the goal. The ball descended to the ground without hitting a player’s body, bounced high in the air over Rendler’s head, and found the nets before the scrambling Rocket goalie could recover.

A game changer
The bad bounce goal was a game changer, injecting new energy in a worn-down Stamford squad. On the opposite side of the field, the impact was even more dramatic with the high energy Rocket fueled play shifting down to low wattage. Stamford coasted the rest of the way.

The Indians dominated the first 20 minutes of the game before weariness came into play. Rendler’s strong play in the nets for Roxbury kept the game scoreless until late in the half.

With just under 15:00 on the clock, a Roxbury defensive foul gave Stamford a direct kick just outside the box deep into Stamford’s offensive end of the field. Ehrhart threaded a cross to the goal crease that Roxbury sweeper Dakota Coronia headed away from the nets.

Nifty move
With his back to the goal, Glenn Cioccari ran down the ball on the right side of the field, turned and somehow advanced the ball unscathed toward the nets. Cioccari grounded a shot, right to left that tucked into the far corner of the nets for the game’s first score.

Cioccari would finish his bookend pair of goals with the game’s final score late in the second half, weaving the ball down the center of the field past two defenders before pounding a shot into the right side of the nets for a score.

Had some chances
Roxbury was not without promising chances. Early in the second half, Josh Riley shot past the outside fullback and carried the ball down the sideline. Riley tipped a pass toward a streaking Joe McAfee but Stamford goalie Ken Ward got their first to deny the goal.

Later in the half, McAfee turned on a ball in Roxbury’s offensive end, tipped a perfect pass to Nick Hamil, and the Rockets’ senior drilled a shot that caromed off the right goal post.
Roxbury will look to get their offense untracked when they host Davenport in their Delaware League opener tomorrow.

Roxbury falls in OT
Davenport outlasted Roxbury in overtime, 3-2, as the teams opened their season’s in the first round of Stamford’s Mayor’s Cup last week. The two schools will open their Delaware League seasons when they square off again Thursday afternoon in Davenport.

Roxbury was positioned to bring down the perennial girls soccer power as they brought a 2-1 lead into the final three minutes of regulation time Wednesday night. Lightning struck, as it often does for Davenport, when Sarah Haight found Kassie Jeffers for the game-tying score.

It was the high scoring Haight who would nail the game winner, her second goal of the contest, with 6:12 left to play in the second overtime. Haight used a through ball from Emily Whipple to set up the critical score. Baily O’Donnell and Erin Hubbell netted the Roxbury goals.

MCS offensive avalanche
Matt VanValkenburg got his 2012 soccer season off with a bang. Within the first eight minutes of Margaretville’s non-league opener in Afton, VanValkenburg had scored twice and assisted a Dylan Shaffer goal, starting an avalanche of Blue Devil offense as the blue and orange bested Afton 7-1.
VanValkneburg added a third tally later in the contest. Sam Gill had a pair of goals and Cooper Reither netted a score for the Blue Devils. In a soccer oddity, both teams netted penalty kick scores in the contest.
Margaretville opens their Delaware League season at home against Jefferson tomorrow afternoon.