Dawgs booters edge Hambletonians by a nose
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — It wasn’t much of a horse race, but both teams worked up a real lather during Monday night’s boys’ varsity soccer game under the lights on the soggy-when-wet home team field on October 1.
Before the start of the hotly contested match, Sullivan West’s senior booters took center stage as they presented the traditional bouquets of flowers to their proud parents and relatives during that homecoming game annual rite of passage called “boys’ soccer senior night.” (See this story online for a photo album)
The Bulldogs seniors: Will Siegel, Kyle Reimer, Dylan Jungblut-Mercado, Joe Joyce-Turner, Evan McCombs, Brandon Decker, Ben Sherman and Jed Wiseman.
Then it was game time, and the battle was on.
Late in the first half, Sullivan West’s Ben Sherman scored unassisted at 30:13, but at 2:29 the Hambletonians of Chester tied it up 1-1 on a goal by Kacey Shah.
At the 36:50 mark in the final frame, the Bulldogs scored what proved to be the winning goal off the foot of Dylan Jungblut-Mercado, assisted by Nick Dworetsky to end to scoring in favor of the home team 2-1.
Not a bad way to celebrate their homecoming game.
Sullivan West stats: shots (7), keeper saves by Efrain Martinez (15), corner kicks (3).
Chester: shots (18), keeper saves by Nicholas Ramirez (5), corner kicks (8).
Martinez, the Bulldogs’ junior goalie, saved the day for the home team before a sparse but enthusiastic home crowd, deflecting 15 hard-driving shots, often diving horizontally with last-ditch efforts to prevent the Hambletonians from posting their first win of the season.
See more photos in The River Reporter photo gallery.
“It was a competitive game… it could have gone either way, but we wanted it more," he said after the match.
In the wake of the by-a-nose victory, when asked how many shots on goal he defended to post numbers in the shots on goal column, Martinez replied, “Too many!”
If Cirque du Soleil ever has an opening for an acrobatic goal keeper, they know who to call, and it ain’t “Ghostbusters”.
Dennis O’Connor, coach of the Hambletonians (0-7), said the game was “probably the most competitive game we’ve played all year… we kept it on the ground and got shots off… offensively, we were much better this game.”
“Their goalie was great," he added.
Robert Francis is a co-captain on the Chester soccer squad, and putting a positive spin on the season, he said, “We’re improving every day, each and every day… getting more steam as we play.”
Kai Murray, coach of the Bulldogs booters (3-5), offered his perspective of his soccer team.
“They’ve fought hard every game… they have grit and are coming together as a team [but] are still a little patchy in the midfield, and that’s something we are working on in our practices.”
Murray noted that second halves can get a bit dicey at times.
“We can get a little bit frazzled when we get against the ropes, but we’re definitely moving along.”
His take on Sullivan West’s goalkeeper?
“An outstanding goalie, thankfully we have Efrain,” said Murray.
Dylan Jungblut-Mercado leads the Bulldogs as a co-captain.
His take on the game?
“It was very intense, back-and-forth, but we held them off.”