It only took the Stanstead College Spartans senior boys soccer team 40 minutes to shake off the post-CAIS fatigue before dispatching the Richmond Regional High School Knights 3-0 on Philip Field on Tuesday, October 17.
It wouldn’t be easy because the Knights occupy top spot in the ETIAC standings for several good reasons. Having arrived home from St. Catharines, Ontario, in the wee hours of Sunday morning following five tough games in two and a half days, the boys had a recovery day on Monday before having to suit up against the Knights, who were only too willing and eager to beat the Spartans on their home soil.
To be honest, the first half was either a ping-pong game or a tennis match, take your pick, because the ball changed hands so often. The first game after a CAIS tournament is always something to be concerned with because the physical and mental fatigue combined with the long travel schedule really drains the energy from the players. Our attitude and approach to the game was excellent but we just couldn’t find our timing and rhythm. Despite being outshot, 10 to 5, our defending was actually very good, with most opposition shots taken from well outside the penalty area and well handled by an alert Emanuel Ganz in the Spartan goal.
Halftime seemed to arrive at an appropriate moment for our boys. They re-grouped at the interval and were an entirely different, better, and more recognizable team in the second half. It didn’t take the Spartans long to find the back of the net either. Seven minutes in, Liam Wallace’s well-placed long diagonal pass to the far post of the Knights’ goal found an eagerly waiting Jeremiah O’Regan, who rose just in front of the Knights’ goalkeeper to head the ball home to give Stanstead a 1-0 lead.
Richmond is a well-organized and very athletic team who do not quit. With their ensuing kickoff the Knights established pressure all over the field and for the next twenty minutes or so, the action was very much back and forth with plenty of good scoring chances created at both ends of the field. Luckily for the Spartans, Ryder Busto’s defense-splitting pass, in the 74th minute, found Luke DeLaBruere, who collected the ball in full gallop and calmly slotted the ball into the near side of the net to provide a solid 2-goal cushion. With two minutes remaining, O’Regan’s tricky left-footed pass played in Busto who out maneuvered Knights’ defenders and found the back of the net with a confidently placed shot. Ganz was solid in goal, facing and saving all 15 Richmond shots to earn his 3rd shutout (clean sheet) in league action and 7th overall. Congratulations to all team members for a well-played game! Final Score: Stanstead 3 – Richmond 0.