Devils Spring Past Salmon River For Vital Win
BY DAVE SHEA
Everyone in the OFA Boys Soccer camp knew that a victory over Salmon River at home on a frigid Tuesday was vital to sustain the Devils' chase of undefeated Canton in the NAC Central Division race.
Everyone in the OFA camp also knew that it would not be easy as the Shamrocks were a much tougher out than their 3-5 record might indicate.
In a contest when both teams possessed and attacked well, the Devils literally were sprung to the victory as a Karson LaRose break-away goal off a perfectly placed chip pass from Kam Johnson with 24:17 to play gave Coach Matt Morley's squad a 2-1 victory and a 6-2 record.
The Devils will look to reshape the division race on Thursday visiting 7-0 Canton which had its game with Malone, scheduled for Tuesday, postponed. The OFA Girls' trip to Salmon River was also rescheduled.
The only Central Division game of the day saw Canton climb to 7-2 with a 2-0 victory at home over Malone.
"It was nice pass by Kam and Karson made a nice shot to get it past their goalie who made several nice saves in the game. Karson got it off before the goalie could cut down his angle," said Coach Morley.
"It was a nice win and we did a lot of good things. We played well after being off for quite a while when our game with Gouverneur was cancelled. Salmon River played played very hard."
LaRose's game-winner was his second goal of the game. He broke a 0-0 tie three minutes into the second half after a corner kick by Franklin Beach into a maze of players produced a handball call in the penalty area. LaRose buried the ensuing penalty shot.
"That penalty shot really hurt. Skill wise we played well enough to win this game. We have been in every game this year," said Salmon River Coach Tim Cook.
"We moved people around in the second half and we really came on as a team. I moved Kade Cook from the midfield up front and shifted Jarred Showen into the midfield and moved Paul Ghostlaw around."
Kade Cook used a strong cross from the right wing to set up the Shamrocks' tying goal nine minutes into the second half. After the cross bounded off a defender, Gavin Cook controlled the ball in the center of the field and drove a shot just inside the right goal post.
It proved to be the Shamrocks only goal as the Devils defensive play did not allow a dangerous shot for the remainder of the contest.
OFA Coach Matt Morley credited his defensive backfield for forcing the Shamrocks to take the great majority of their shots from long range.
"Our guys in the back, Logan Horton, Keighan Sias, Eli Bullock and Aiden LaFlair, played very well. In terms of rotating and communicating I think it was their best game of the season," said Coach Morley.
"Dave Vernsey wasn't really called upon to make a big save to preserve the lead."
Vernsey finished with six saves and made two well timed leaping clears on corner kicks in the final 10 minutes. Salmon River keeper John Miller finished with four saves and came off his line to make three-point blank stops.
CANTON GIRLS BLANK MALONE
Allison Kiah scored the eventual game winning goal in the first half unassisted and Emily Wentworth netted the Bears' second tally in the second half from Hannah Reed. Briana Roberts stopped two shots to post the shutout.
TODAY'S NAC SOCCER
Girls Soccer: Hermon-DeKalb at Edwards-Knox, Parishville-Hopkinton at Tupper Lake.
Boys Soccer: Edwards-Knox at Hermon-DeKalb, Norwood-Norfolk at Parishville-Hopkinton, Madrid-Waddington at Colton-Pierrepont, St. Regis Falls at St. Lawrence Central.