Boys'Side Slips Away With First Annual SFDS Coaches'Cup
It was a friendly contest, but both teams' competitive natures rose quickly after kickoff, resulting in many bodies falling on the incredibly slippery turf. The Boys' Coaches showed much better footing in the first half, piling up a 4-1 lead.
Second-grade boys' coach Brian Baldwin got the scoring started. When the defense sagged to stop the pass on a 4-on-2 break, Baldwin lofted a sweet shot from outside the left side of the penalty area into the right corner of the net.
The Girls' Coaches answered back quickly with a crisp passing sequence. Third-grade girls' coach Anthony Di Carlo centered the ball through Annette Scotto to eighth-grade coach Tom Ray, who buried the game-knotter.
The Boys Coaches countered with a relentless attack that lasted most of the half. Over the next five minutes, they extended their lead to 3-1. The Girls' Coaches tried to get back in the game, but were thwarted when goalie Michelle Woods (fourthggGrade boys) stood tall and stopped a blast from in close.
In the waning seconds of the opening frame, James Mercer displayed the energy and hustle of a young one. He burst through the defense and flung his body at the ball before the SFDS Girls' goalie could grab it, launching an off-balance shot into the back of the net.
True to the determination of the girls who play for them, the SFDS Girls' Coaches wiped the mud off their sweats and played an aggressive second half. Bolstered by stellar backline play by Sean "Mr. Clear" Shevlin (sixth grade) and Jimmy Carlton, the girls' coaches pushed an extra player on offense at every chance.
This led to numerous scoring chances, but few goals was scored thanks to the stellar goaltending of Kevin Williams (second grade boys). Five minutes into the second half, the Girls' Coaches were awarded a penalty kick. Williams leapt high to tap Alyssa Santiago's blast over the crossbar.
The Girls' Coaches pulled to 4-2 midway through the second half when Paul King (sixth grade girls) snuck up from defense on a corner kick and re-directed Michael Breslin's crisp feed into the far corner.
Four minutes later, the Girls Coaches appeared ready to pull within one. Anthony Di Carlo broke free with some dazzling footwork. Slicing in from the right, Di Carlo shot back against the grain, but Williams made a diving save to preserve the two-goal cushion. It was the play of the game.
The Girls' Coaches kept the pressure up but couldn't get another goal, even after St. Francis Soccer AD Bill Dunn used his discretion as referee to allow several minutes of extra play. Bill was firm with the whistle, issuing a yellow card and several warnings.
Other highlights of the game included several spirited battles off Brian Baldwin's high-arcing corner kicks, Al Santiago's second-half shutout, amazing headers on offense and defense by Jonathan Maranga, and spirited rooting (and occasional laughter) by the spouses and children in attendance.