Dragons too much for North East
The Warren Area High School boys soccer team traveled to North East and came away with a convincing 6-0 win in their opener.
“The other coaches and I were concerned the team might be lethargic after not being tested in the preseason matches. Concerns were quickly erased. Our intensity was great. I asked them to bring it and they definitely brought it,” said Warren coach Denny Flatt.
“When you play smart with a high degree of intensity, good things usually happen. It was nice to start the season against a team you have to play hard against to win.”
The first goal of the 2018 season came at 4:58 into the match with senior captain Griffin Suppa, scoring with a well placed header when Senior Captain, Andy Beyer provided the assist.
Devon Navaroli scored his first varsity goal with a great shot at 29:50 – Suppa was credited with the assist.
Navaroli scored his second goal at 35:30, the goal was a result of tenacity and hustle from Navaroli, and teammate Jake Funari.
The first half ended with the Dragons leading 3-0.
The Pickers started the second half with a sense of urgency, but the Dragons were able to thwart their efforts, and swing the momentum back.
“We controlled ball possession and thus controlled the game. Our willingness to go for every 50-50 ball and win a high majority of them controlled the tempo of the match,” Flatt said. “Our defense played very impressively. Our center backs, Andy Beyer and Beck Labesky played with high energy, and were tactful. They are different type of players, but they complemented each other very well today. Tyler Gustafson, and Luke Smelko looked very good on the backline, their efforts basically shut down any perimeter threats. Caleb Ei, WOW, the kid plays with so much determination and grit. He finished the day with 38 tackles and owned the center of the pitch.
“Everyone wants to hear about goals and assists, but good teams must have a good defense, and I believe we have a great one.”
Caleb Lindell scored at the 60:54 mark from an assist from Colin Blair.
Ryon Flatt found the back of the net at 65:50 on an assist from Devon Navaroli.
Blair closed the scoring out with a 78:00 goal, with an assist from Flatt.
“We have been working very hard on attacking and finishing with Suppa and Blair serving as ‘quarterbacks,’ and are seeing the field well. Navaroli and Flatt also had very solid games,” Flatt said. “Their speed and ability to locate Suppa, Blair, and forward Lindell kept the grape pickers defense off balance. Lindell had some nice runs and found a lot of open space.
“Five different players scored today, which translated into a well balanced attack. Goalkeepers Tommy Harrington and Ian Darling combined for the shutout. Even though a lot of things worked today, I was most impressed with the decisions they were making on the field, although the results were not always successful. They recognized the opportunities, communicated and attempted to execute a strategy.
“With some fine tuning, this should pay dividends in the future. When we lost the ball we got it back, that is mindset we must have the remainder of the season. The win was great, but its over, we will now prepare for the challenging McDowell Trojans, who we play at home on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The JV team also won 6-0,and were equally impressive.
“We have a nice group of players who are gaining valuable minutes and experience,” Flatt said.
“AJ Seyler and Damon Navaroli anchored the center of our back line and are doing a nice job mentoring the younger players. We also got productive minutes in the midfield from Zane Anderson and Wesley Kiehl.”
On the attack, Ben Berdine and Ian Darling each found the back of the net twice.Alex Nebinski added to the scoring and JT Blum recorded his first high school goal.
Adding to the defensive stand was strong play from Sean Duckett, Ricky Madril, Arick Allen, Roman Sheets and Kohle Lyon. Alex Nebinski and Alex Ferry combined to keep the Grapepickers blanked on the scoreboard.
“The boys are doing a nice job seeing the field and possessing the ball, we hope to build our experience throughout the season and continue to get better.” said JV Coach Chris Darling.