by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 9-22-2013
NEWPORT — By the time referee Jim Starr had called the penalty kick in favor of United Christian Academy’s Justin Limoges on Friday, the end result would not have changed. The visiting Trinity Baptist School Kings from Williston had a commanding 6-0 lead. The attempt wasn’t going to change the outcome in any way, but that did not diminish its value to Limoges as a player or to his Crusader teammates.
“I was just focusing on the ball,” Limoges recalled after the game. “I was focusing on putting it where the keeper wasn’t. I just wanted to break the shut out for the team, for our morale.”
Limoges lined up the shot and blasted one in the upper left corner, beating Kings keeper Jack Barton for the first and only time on the day. While the Crusaders had generated a few opportunities to test Barton’s skills he had persistently turned away their best efforts.
Friday’s match was a tale of two halves. The first half was owned entirely by the Kings offense. The Crusader defense attempted to cut off avenues of attack but the Kings would take advantage of the gaps to swarm UCAs net. That high pressure attack enabled Trinity Baptist to strike early.
The Kings’ captain, Creighton North, cruised through the Crusader defenders to put the ball in the net twice within a two-minute span, giving the visitors a commanding 2-0 lead. It would be nearly half an hour later before the Kings would beat Crusader keeper Scott Geib again.
Ethan Roy’s goal with less than seven minutes to play was a textbook header on a corner kick from Trinity Baptist teammate Peter Parkinson. With the clock winding down Marcus VanWyck would rush through the Crusader zone and blast a shot past Geib to finish the half with the Kings up 4-0.
“We’ve been working on keeping our spacing, maintaining position and communicating,” UCA head coach Dean DeLaBruere said after the game. “We didn’t do that in the first half. Normally we’ve started that way and then wore down in the second half. To see the team pick it up in the second half was very encouraging.”
Reverting to the plan appeared to pay immediate dividends for the Crusaders. Passing lanes found open feet and suddenly all of the momentum wasn’t channeling directly at Geib. Suddenly Barton needed to pay more attention to the play as the crusaders generated their best scoring opportunities of the entire game.
“If you looked at the way we played that second half, it was a completely different game,” Coach DeLaBruere said. “Our game plan is such a simple thing but it works. When we stick to the plan we look like a soccer team and we play like a soccer team when all the individual play goes away.”
The Kings would record the next two goals at the 15 minute mark and then with under seven minutes to play in the second half. VanWyck would record his second goal of the game while Parkinson would add a goal to his earlier assist.
A minute after Parkinson’s goal was when Limoges would come up to the line, facing Barton in a one-on-one duel. The stakes for both sides were high despite the fact that however the shot played out, the fate of the game was hardly hanging in the balance. Barton sought to preserve his shut-out while Limoges wanted to show his team that Barton could be beaten.
“As a team we talk a lot about having a positive mental attitude and keeping the faith,” Coach DeLaBruere said. “We go out there and play to represent ourselves, our families and our school. When we represent those things, no matter what, it’s okay.”
An added twist to Friday’s contest was the fact that both sides fielded female players. Trinity Baptist carried five girls on the squad while two of UCAs varsity girls in Megan Hosford and Moriah Lafoe. Trinity Baptist rostered the girls because without them they would have been unable to field a full 11-member team. UCA carried the extra players because the girls’ varsity schedule is light and the rules allow teams to use co-ed rosters with strict limits on halves played.
Having those two extra bodies on the bench able to come in to the game was a tremendous boost, UCA assistant coach Glenn Saaman said. UCA being such a small school, oftentimes students who are not athletically inclined are asked to join the team. With little time to condition and prepare, especially for the fall season, that can be physically demanding on a player.
“Expecting someone to run for 80 minutes who isn’t used to that level of activity is a lot,” Coach Saaman said. “Having the girls available to take a turn and give some of the guys a breather helps a lot.”
Introducing two new players mid-stream didn’t appear to disturb the Crusaders’ chemistry. Coach DeLaBruere attributes that to the positive mental attitude and common values shared by the student body and faculty.
“That harmony comes naturally,” he said.
Limoges had nothing but praise for Hosford and Lafoe on their efforts during the game. Their performance amounted to more than simply taking to the field while the boys rested, he said.
“They did a really good job,” Limoges said. “Moriah actually got a nice shot on goal. They were a big asset to us.”
The Crusaders return to action in Cabot on Tuesday as the girls play at 3 p.m. while the boys take to the field for a 4:30 p.m. start.
contact Richard Creaser at [email protected] For more sports please see our sports section on this site or pick up the newspaper.