By Ted Waddell
JEFFERSONVILLE September 14, 2007 It took 93 minutes and 19 seconds, but for the Monticello Panthers, the wait was worth it.
Monday afternoon’s non-league soccer matchup between the home team Sullivan West Bulldogs and the Panthers was scoreless after 80 minutes of regulation play, which according to the rules then went into two back-to-back 10-minute overtime periods.
Neither goalie yielded during the first 10-minute extra period. But in the second overtime period, Monticello’s Colin Bunce threw it into to Alex Castro, who fired in into the mouth of the goal, just past Bulldogs keeper Logan Grishaber to win the match for the Panthers, 1-0.
Dennis Stafford, captain of the Panthers, anchored the goal cage for his team.
The 2007 Monticello soccer team consists of seven seniors, nine juniors and five sophomores.
SW’s team is made up of three seniors, six juniors, six sophomores and four freshmen. The team captains are Jesse Fadis and Richard Feeney.
SW held a 23-12 advantage in shots on goal, while Monticello enjoyed a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Stafford made 15 saves in the match, while Grishaber had 12 saves.
“Each game, we’ve gotten better, but we still have to work on fundamentals,” SW Coach Debbie Owen said.
Owen noted that since SW doesn’t have a jayvee soccer program, the players come up from the modified team, as opposed to many other schools such as Monticello, where they advance though the rank from modified to jayvee and then up to varsity level competition.
“We’ve got the determination, but we don’t have the finesse,” Owen said of her players.
“We have two freshmen [Lucas Bauer and Andrew Kinch] in starting spots at midfield wing,” Owen added. “We have a young team, so we’re making adjustments. We have a lot of people in new positions.”
Early in the match, SW’s Eric Minton picked up a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct. For the rest of the contest, Minton was basically held in reserve so he wouldn’t get red-carded (receiving a second yellow card in the same match), and thus be forced to sit out the Bulldogs’ upcoming game against James I. O’Neill.
“It put a damper on our overall game,” Owen said. “But they need to play within the rules, so that’s how it goes.”
Monticello Coach John Maranzana credited the play Stafford who is the Panthers’ team captain.
“He had a real strong day, and made a couple of great saves,” Maranzana said.
His take on the new soccer season?
“Optimistic,” Maranzana replied. “We’re a young team, we play hard, yet we’ve got a lot of things to learn, so there’s room for improvement.”
“It’s a good group of boys, and if they stay together and keep working, they’re only going to improve,” he added.