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What a Game!

Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

VALERIO PIZOFERRATO OF the Family School (11) sticks his foot out to block the ball as Seward’s Ken Youchah looks to move it upfield in Tuesday’s game.

Teams Compete Furiously

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 Tuesday’s 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 wasn’t 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 Tuesday’s 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 game’s 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 don’t 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.”
I’m sure we’ll face Florida again in the sectionals,” he added. “Hopefully we’ll 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 it’s been a good season but it’s 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.
“It’s just not true,” Musgrove said of such talk. “I get these kids for one year, very rarely two. We don’t practice during the off season. We try out at the same time as everyone else. This year, we didn’t start (practicing) until August 23.”
“It’s funny,” he added. “I’ve 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 what’s 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, we’re totally ready. I’ve coached for years, and this is the hardest working team I’ve ever had.”

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