By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY October 15, 2002 It was a soccer game fit for ducks and some muddy varsity football players serving as cheerleaders.
On Thursday, the home team Liberty Indians boys varsity soccer team (6-5-1 overall, 2-2-1 OCIAA) battled the Comets of Fallsburg (6-6-2 overall, 3-1-1 OCIAA) to a 1-1 tie on a field made slick by a nasty little afternoon rain.
The mood was lightened a bit when the Liberty football players, who were mud-splattered from a hard-hitting practice session on the athletic field above, ran in back of the home team net chanting in cadence, We are the Indians!, and then took up position along the sidelines as a cheerleading squad with helmets.
Ramon Romero, a 16-year-old Liberty sophomore, scored the first goal of the contest 27 minutes into the opening half. Romeros score came on an assist from A.J. Gill.
I was very glad, he said of scoring the goal on a nice pass from his teammate. Romero hails from Puleo, Mexico. This is his first year playing varsity soccer for the Indians.
At the 75 minute mark, Fallsburgs Jon Hinton tied it up 1-1 on a play that sent him to the hospital.
With five minutes remaining on an imaginary game clock (the referees wristwatch), Hinton banged heads in front of the net with teammate Bakarry Ceesay off a corner kick.
Ceesay proved he had the harder head of the day as Hinton hit the dirt. As Fallsburg Coach Paul Marsden sheltered him from the drizzle, someone called 911 and an ambulance was soon en route to the playing field. Hinton complained of a sore head, and was transported to Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Harris by the local ambulance squad.
(Thankfully, Hinton did not need to remain in the hospital for an extended period of time.)
Both teams fought to score in the final minutes, but the refs called the injury-delayed game a tie as darkness fell over the rain-drenched field.
Mike Salvia, Libertys leading scorer of the season with 14 goals, took over as keeper of the day as starting goalie Jeremy Liu was temporarily sidelined. Lionel White anchored the net for the Comets.
Salvias take on the match?
It was close game that could have gone either way, said the 17-year-old 12th grader.
It was a very hard-fought game, said Kevin DeRosa, a 17-year-old senior right fullback with the Comets. Both teams played with a lot of heart . . . we played to the end.
Marsden said it was tough on both teams to play under wet-ball conditions adding the outcome was what the whole game was . . . a tie
Liberty Coach Hazel Yaun was all aglow with the performance of a team that had a rather dismal 1-12 won-loss record last year.
These guys are awesome this year!, said Yaun. They are improving every game, and have great maturity.
All the team stepped up to keep us in the game, and my leading scorer (Salvia) showed incredible leadership today, she said. I think our guys went well to the ball and are talking better than they ever did (before). I just wished the ball was on the ground a little bit more.