By Ted Waddell
FALLSBURG September 20, 2002 It was a day of firsts for the Fallsburg boys varsity booters.
On Tuesday, the Comets played the first home game of the season on a brand new soccer field, but suffered their first loss in OCIAA Division IV competition. The Tornadoes of Tuxedo Union Free School shut out Fallsburg, 2-0.
Fallsburg (1-2 , 1-1 Division IV) was hampered by a short bench, as four senior starters sat out the game due to unforeseen circumstances. As the contest progressed, Tuxedo (4-1, 4-0 Division IV) called upon eight players from the bench, while the Comets only had a couple of subs ready to take up the slack on a hot afternoon.
While the home team wilted a bit in the second half, the opposing goalies staged a battle royale.
In the opening half, Tuxedos keeper, 17-year-old senior Chris Clark, went airborne outside the cage to crash into a hard-charging Fallsburg midfielder to prevent a goal.
Throughout the game, Vernon Poole, the Comets 17-year-old senior goalie, made some good saves to keep the score from getting out of hand.
It was a good game, (and) Fallsburg played real well, said Clark, who has been tending the net since he was a first-grader.
I was almost caught outside the net a couple of times, but luck was on my side, he added. Were going to meet these guys again, and it should be fun.
According to Poole, hes been kicking a soccer ball around since he was about seven-years-old. He started guarding the net last week for the Comets.
It was an evenly matched game, he said. Both teams played well and were very aggressive.
Poole recorded 17 saves in the match, while Clark was credited with eight saves.
In the wake of a hard-fought scoreless first half, Tuxedo put the ball into the net twice in the second half of the game.
Three minutes into the half, Mike Monroe crashed the goal on a header off a crossing ball from midfielder Ben Baker. Craig Noonan scored unassisted at the 27 minute mark.
Tuxedo Coach Dave Powers agreed with his goalie that Tuesdays win over Fallsburg was a well-played match on both sides of the field.
They played hard, they played smart and they played tough, he said.
Powers said the Tornado booters are living up to his goal of improving every time they take to the field.
Fallsburg Coach Paul Marsden said fatigue was a factor in the match due a bench pared almost to the bone by the absence of four key starters, as the lack of subs sabotaged their offensive strength.
I thought they wore us down, he said.
Marsden said that once more players become eligible and everybody gets their act together, the Comets will have a 25 man squad including a dozen experienced seniors.
Overall, I think my kids played well and Vernon (Poole) made some very nice saves, he added.
Marsden offered an early season forecast.
Once we get up to full strength, well run wild.