Lisbon Boys Win NAC Soccer Finale In Fitting Fashion
BY DAVE SHEA
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic complications and situations developed throughout the 2020 Northern Conference Soccer season which were simply beyond the control of schools, teams and players.
There were no preseason scrimmages, tournaments, no nonleague games, no Section 10 Tournament and no state tournaments. Teams had games cancelled and some teams had their seasons ended prematurely when schools were forced to go totally remote.
Following the 2019 season the Lisbon Golden Knights had very realistic aspirations of the playing the final weekend of the their season in the New York State Final Four.
But instead they played the final game of the Northern Conference on their home field, on Sunday, blanking Morristown 4-0 in the final game of the NAC. The 7-0-1 Knights' season was interrupted by a two-week quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure and when they returned they played their final three games with Coach Diky Marcellus confined to quarters at home by a quarantine.
"So many crazy things happened this season but the guys did everything they could. They played very well today. We moved the ball well and got a lot of chances," said Assistant Coach Kelley Geary.
"The guys had a great season and everyone did a good job so we could have a season."
The Golden Knights controlled their destiny throughout the season by possessing the ball expertly and did that very well on Sunday shutting out the high scoring Rockets and severely limiting touches for NAC scoring leader Tristin Richardson.
"We didn't have our A game for sure. Lisbon possesses the ball so well and is a great team. But I think we did very well this season starting with only 12 players," said Morristown Coach Glen Colby.
The Knights outshot the 5-6-0 Rockets 26-2 and finished with a 12-0 edge in corner kicks.
"This was far from a normal season and while I know we didn't agree with things at times you held true to our beliefs and took all obstacles head on. While I know this season may not be what we all envisioned at the end of last season, but from the 1st day of practice we had said that we will take everything 1 day at a time," said Lisbon Coach Diky Marcellus in a facebook post.
"We were going to play as hard as we possibly could every game and play to the best of our ability until we were told we can't play any longer. You did that without question. This has been another great group of young men to coach. You have left your mark on the Lisbon Varsity Soccer program. You have many accomplishments to look back on."
Lisbon scored two scored two goals in each half and each goal came off an assists and defenders pressing up field set up two scores.
Jack LaRock scored the first goal off a pass from stopper Teagan Jordan and Griffin Walker netted the second goal from fullback Jayden Carr. Miles Gendebien sniped a low shot into the right corner of the net from Chase Jordan for goal number three and Tyler Gravlin buried a hared shot on the final goal of the 2020 season from Issac LaRock.
Matt Robinson and Caleb Richardson combined for one save in the Knights' sixth shutout of the season where they allowed just three goals in eight games. Morristown's Kade Marshall finished with 10 saves including a penalty shot stop.
"Played a great game today fellas in some pretty tough conditions. I know over the years we have all played in some cold, wet games and in mid November, but those were not ideal conditions to be playing soccer in. It was a great way to end the season moving the ball and getting some finishes," said Coach Marcellus in a facebook post. "I would like to thank Coach Geary and Coach Jordan for taking over in my absence. It is a privilege to have such great coaches on staff. I appreciate all the help both of you provided to this group and to allow them to finish their season. I want our superintendent Pat Farrand for allowing us to complete the season and all of the superintendents in the section for allowing us to have a season. A special thanks goes to Athletic Director Erika Backus. She had to do some many things for us. Her job was definitely not easy with all the rules and regulations."
Coach Marcellus went on to express gratitude to the supporters of the team in season, where like everything else touched by the virus, things changed every day. "To all the parents that have braved the elements, rules, regulations, and multiple changes I can't thank you enough for all you do. The support this group has from not only their own parents, but from the community makes coaching and playing much more enjoyable. The support you have given this group over the years is not unnoticed. Can't thank you enough for all you do and have done."
The contest marked the end of the Lisbon Soccer career for five seasons in Jayden Carr, Tegan Jordan, Jackson LaRock, Kaiden Mussen and Greg Wood who were vital components in back to back unbeaten NAC West seasons and last season's Section 10 Class D Championship.
"To the Seniors Jayden, Tyler, Teagan, Jackson, Kaiden, Matt, and Greg. I am sorry I was not there for your last soccer game at LCS. It has been my absolute privilege to coach such a great group of athletes, soccer players, and young men. I have had the honor of watching you from 7th grade to seniors. I can never express what you guys have meant to the program and to myself as a coach. The underclassmen have some huge shoes to fill," said Coach Marcellus in his facebook post.
Lisbon Athletic Director Erika Backus considered the season to be outstanding for all teams and schools in Section 10.
"I am so happy that we got it in. It took a lot of work but we had a season when other areas weren't able to." said Ms. Backus as she, Assistant Coach Kelley Geary and Blake Genedebien, who filmed the games so they could be broadcast live on facebook, moved tables and chairs from the field into the school.