By Ted Waddell
HANCOCK October 26, 2001 It was a soccer match between an undefeated team and a squad of booters that never quits.
It was also a game that featured some of the highest caliber of play during the 2001 soccer season.
In Tuesdays hotly contested OCIAA Division V boys soccer game between the home team Falcons of the Family School Foundation (16-0, 7-0 Division V) and the S.S.Seward Institute Spartans (14-3, 5-2 Division V), the Falcons emerged victorious, 5-3. With the win, the Falcons clinched the Division V title.
In the first half, the home team racked up five goals, but in the second frame started to fade under the relentless pressure of a team that wasnt about to throw in the towel.
With the score 5-0 at the half, in the following frame the Spartans blanked the Falcons by a 3-0 margin, prompting Family School coach Bill Musgrove to comment after the game, that the Falcons got our butts kicked in the second half.
When these hard-charging squads met earlier this season at Florida, the Falcons jumped out to a 3-0 first frame lead. In the second half, both teams scored twice to give the Family School a 5-2 win. The teams are expected to face each other again in upcoming sectional competition.
In Tuesdays opening frame, the scoring was all Falcons as they soared to five consecutive goals despite a determined Spartans defense.
Sean Hogan headed the ball into the net on an assist by Ricky Wyche at 36:00 remaining in the first half. At 32:15, Wyche scored unassisted on a direct kick from the midfield. Steve Markie scored with a header of an assist by Mike Fitzgerald at 28:00 to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead.
At 24:30, Yannick Ledard scored for the Falcons on a chip shot in front of the goal, assisted by Hogan. With about four minutes remaining in the first frame, Valerio Pizaferrato scored on a penalty kick to give the hometeam a 5-0 lead.
In the second half, the scoring was all S.S. Seward. Brad Hannigan scored on a long cross at 35:00. Mike Hoyt headed one into the net at 25:00, followed at 15:45 by a Joe Yurchuk penalty kick to close out the games scoring at 5-3.
Stats: shots on goal (Family School, 20/Seward, 11), corner kicks (Family School, 3/Seward, 5), keeper saves (Francesko Bello for the Family School, 12/Rob Gillespie, 4 for S.S. Seward).
It was the typical game that we play, Seward coach Joe Mazzarulli said. We seem to get down, but we never quit and we come back.
If we could put two halves together, it would be good, he added.I hope we play the Family School in the sectionals on a neutral field. We got down a little too far, but we dont quit. We want to play em again.
Musgrove noted that the Falcons early lead was key.
We jumped out on top, and fortunately got an early lead, he said. (Seward) is extremely tough, very skilled and very serious . . . they are very physical.
Im sure well face Florida again in the sectionals, he added. Hopefully well take down Livingston Manor and get top seed and get a couple of our injured players back.
The Falcons number one scorer Brian Epstein was recently sidelined with a knee injury. In regular season play, the Family School has lost five players (four of whom are starters): four to injuries, one to grades.
Asked about the regular season, Musgrove replied, So far its been a good season but its getting tougher as it goes. We were dominating teams, but they are catching up to us a little.
As the Family School booters rolled through the ranks of public schools in the county like a soccer steamroller, rumblings started in the local coaching ranks that the private school had an unfair advantage.
The rumor mill had it on good authority that the Falcons were practicing all year and were recruiting top notch soccer players.
Its just not true, Musgrove said of such talk. I get these kids for one year, very rarely two. We dont practice during the off season. We try out at the same time as everyone else. This year, we didnt start (practicing) until August 23.
Its funny, he added. Ive coached basketball here for six seasons in a row, and the most wins we ever had was six, and nobody even questioned us then. Next season, if we go 3-15, I would like these questions asked again.
So whats the secret of the Falcons success?
I never, ever worked with a bunch of kids who have worked harder, Musgrove said. We start spiritually, and we pray on our knees. Emotionally and physically, were totally ready. Ive coached for years, and this is the hardest working team Ive ever had.