By Andy Simek
HARRIS June 19, 2007 The Hudson Valley Youth Soccer League (HVYSL) held its final three matches of the 2007 spring season on Sunday afternoon at the Discovery Health Center in Harris.
The final contest of the day featured the Hudson Valley Strikers against Liberty United in an Under-19 boys’ match.
Despite the heat and the oppressive humidity, the players from both teams put on their game faces and brought the ball to the net.
At the end of 80 minutes of action, Hudson Valley prevailed by a final score of 4-2.
The first half held in store some troubles for Liberty United.
With the pressure on them, the Liberty United players found themselves spending most of their time in front of their own goal.
Relentless in their will to succeed, the Strikers’ players pushed hard and finally broke through both the Liberty defenders and goalkeeper Dennis Stafford.
Stafford made numerous saves, but the competition eventually wore him down and the Strikers managed to score two goals by the end of the first half.
Liberty United turned its game over in the second half, possibly due to an inspirational talk by Coach Joma Burton or possibly due to the cool breeze that had begun to blow across the pitch.
Giuseppe Pezo of Liberty United scored his team’s first goal with a scissor-kick that took Strikers’ goalie Dion Ruta by surprise.
The Strikers’ Craig Toohey quickly retaliated by scoring his first of two goals in the second half.
With the Strikers leading 3-1, the competition got fierce.
Control over the ball was so frenzied it was hard for anyone to keep track of where it was at any one point.
Nate Coelho took advantage of this confusion and scored a goal for Liberty United through a gap in the Strikers’ defense that looked about a mile wide. The tally brought Liberty United to within a goal at 3-2.
But Toohey scored the final goal of the afternoon to give the Strikers their two-goal margin of victory.
Hudson Valley Coach Damon Ruta said that his team worked hard all season long to win the HVYSL championship.
“This game especially was hard fought,” he said. “And we’re thankful to the other team for giving us the chance to really compete.”
The Strikers finished their season with a record of 7-1-2.