Lions tame Yellowjackets

Posted 9/28/22

ELDRED, NY — The thing about most sporting events is that someone’s going to win, and somebody’s destined to lose.

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Lions tame Yellowjackets


ELDRED, NY — The thing about most sporting events is that someone’s going to win, and somebody’s destined to lose.

An “inconvenient truth” perhaps, but those are rules of the game, with ties excepted.

On Friday, September 16, a couple of boys’ soccer squads took to the field at Eldred, and neither team had any wins yet in the early-season scorebook. The Eldred Yellowjackets battled the Lions of Chapel Field to see who would walk away with a check-mark in the “W” column.

But the visitors totally dominated the action, and the home team remained winless at 0-4. The Lions pounced to a 9-0 victory, earning them a 1-2 record.

Chapel Field posted five goals in the opening 40 minutes. Noah Swart scored twice, Jahmali McKenzie scored twice, and for a hat trick to end the half, Swart beat the home-team keeper once again.

The second frame was all Lions: Oli McKenzie scored twice, and Bryce Hollo and Matt Kelly posted a goal each.

“It was a sectional game for us, and we needed to come out and take it seriously,” said Brad McDuffie, coach of the Lions.

Noting that both Chapel Field and Eldred are classified as D schools, he said, “We’re struggled this year… as a D school, you’ve got to play up with the big boys. When we play B and C schools”—similarly rated teams—“We’re playing in our own wheelhouse.”

The Lions are captained by Bryce Hollo and Noah Swart, while Drew Hollo is in his first season as starting goalie.

In summing up their first win of the season, McDuffie said of his new keeper, “He didn’t face a lot of pressure, but when he did, he handled it well.”

The most telling takeaway for this sports scribbler was watching Eldred’s helmsman Josh Santoro encourage his lads, while also stressing that “this is Soccer 101,” a constant and oft-repeated admonition to focus on the basics.

As a case in point, when you deck an opponent, reach down to help him back up, and shake his hand in a display of good sportsmanship.

The Yellowjackets booters of 2022 are composed of a seventh-grader, three eighth-graders, four freshmen, two juniors and two seniors. The last are Pierce Weyant and Vince Marchesin. Marchesin is in his first year as guardian of the net. 

The captains are Pierce Weyant, a senior, and Cooper Stutz, a junior.

Reflecting on the young age of the team, Santoro said, “We’re packed at the bottom,” noting that Eldred is currently lacking a modified or jayvee boys’ soccer program.

“This is without a doubt the least-experienced team, as far as skill level, that I’ve ever coached,” he said. “We’re not quite yet where we need to be… but they never give up, never quit… so we will get better.”

It’s a great group, Santoro said, and “even though we’re down right now, it makes you want to come back (coaching)... they want to do better. That’s all you can ask.”

sports, soccer, eldred, chapel field


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