The Stanstead College Senior Boys Soccer Spartans completed the 2023 ETIAC league schedule on Wednesday afternoon on Philip Field with a well-earned 3-1 victory over the Galt Pipers.
With the win, Stanstead secured at least second place in the ETIAC standings and would have to wait for the final game, to be played the next day between MVR and Richmond, to see if they could claim top spot and win the league banner. Richmond would have to lose to MVR to be knocked out of first place. Details on this to follow.
This match against Galt was the fourth meeting between the two squads, as they met twice in early September’s Stanstead Invitational Tournament. Both of those games went Stanstead’s way, 3-0 and 1-0 wins, but the league encounter at Galt played to a 0-0 stalemate. Rivalries abound in ETIAC but this one, between the Spartans and Pipers, comes very close to that between Stanstead College and BCS. So all spectators on hand would surely be treated to another good game. It didn’t disappoint.
The Spartans picked up from where they left off the previous day against Richmond and produced a very solid first half of soccer against the Pipers. The shot count and timing of the shots revealed an interesting pattern that characterized the Spartans’ consistent play in the Piper half of the field. In all, our guys produced 10 attempts at goal, distributed fairly evenly over the first 40 minutes. The highlight of the half arrived in the 32nd minute when Jeremiah O’Regan delivered a wicked left-footed cross from the left flank that was perfectly met on an exquisitely well-timed run by fellow winger, Nicolas Robillard. Nico’s well-executed deft touch placed the ball along the ground and past the Piper goalkeeper. 1-0 to Stanstead at halftime.
The first twenty minutes of the second half, like the day before, brought a positive reaction from Galt. This was not unexpected as they are a well-coached and organized team. Galt produced more attacks and demonstrated a lively approach to their game plan. And it worked out for them. In the 61st minute of play, a Spartan handball in their own penalty area produced a Piper penalty shot which their shooter finished with power and accuracy. 1-1 with 19 minutes to play.
The Spartans’ reaction to Galt’s goal was instantaneous. Immediately following the kickoff, Matteo Paradis played a pass out wide to Shun Hatano, who was in full flight up the right wing. Hatano’s second touch of the ball was an angled pass into space and ahead of the Piper left fullback, who was in hot pursuit. As Hatano was about to take his third touch into an area where he would have an excellent shooting opportunity, the Piper defender clattered into him and brought him crashing to the ground. The sound of the referee’s whistle indicated a Spartan penalty shot. Up stepped Henry Riddel to take the spot kick, and while it was a good attempt, Galt’s goalkeeper made an even better stop. However, the ball rebounded into play and in front of the Piper net. Luckily, our guys were alert and attacked the goal frame for such instances. Gabriel De Santis was johnny-on-the-spot to slam the ball into the goal. 2-0 Spartans.
Ten minutes later, Stanstead was awarded a free kick about 35 yards from the Piper goal. Mauricio Lopez took responsibility for the kick and delivered a superbly placed pass over the Galt defensive wall and into the path of an eagerly waiting and wide-open Henry Riddell, who made no mistake in scoring on this opportunity.
A few minutes later, Stanstead came close to scoring again on a play that was very similar to their first goal. This time Hatano’s right footed cross found a wide-open Santiago Prieto, who met and struck the ball with a solid right foot, but, unfortunately, the ball flew just past the outside of the far goalpost.
Final score: Spartans 3 – Pipers 1. This was another solid team effort for the Spartans as every member of the team contributed to this performance.