OFA Stops Malone To Cap Strong Second Half
BY DAVE SHEA
Attacking and defending with equal effieciency, the OFA Boys Soccer team capped an unbeaten run through the second half of the NAC Central Division season with a 3-0 victory over first place Malone in Tuesday's Senior Night win.
The 6-4-3 Devils finished at 5-2-3 in the division and dropped the Huskies to 7-2 with a game to play, struck for two first half goals and did an admirable job containing Huskie game-breaker Hans Schumacher. OFA finished with 13 points in the division and continued a drive for a second place finish with 6-3 Salmon River which stands at 12 points with a game to play.
Karson LaRose netted a penalty shot and a pretty break-away goal, Connor Griffith scored the eventual winning goal and Holden Woods passed out two assists while goalies Trent Lovely and David Vernsey both made outstanding saves and combined for 10 stops.
"Hans Schumacher is just a tremendous player with incredible speed. Holden Woods and Kelson Hooper played in the middle tonight and did a good job doubling Hans whenever he had the ball and tried to make him give it up. That is all you can do and our defense of Greg Mallott, Keighan Sias, Logan Horton and Nolan O'Donnell did a great job," said OFA Coach Matt Morley.
"Hans had some dangerous shots but most of them came from long range. Now we have 14 days off before our first playoff game which will be tough challenge."
All three of the Devil goals came from short range starting with Griffith taking a lead pass from Woods and drilling a hard shot past Huskie keeper Zach Barkman (9 saves) at 29:08 of the first half while shielding a defender on a strong run.
With 15:13 remaining in the half, Karson LaRose buried a penalty shot after a handball call in the penalty area.
The Huskies generated increased offensive pressure in the second half and threatened on a series of corner kicks which were cleared by Devil defenders. LaRose produced the only scoring of the second half on a quick counter attack.
Woods sent a long pass through the midfield to LaRose breaking behind the defense and the junior striker pushed the ball past Barkman who charged out of the crease looking for a break-up and drove the ball past a defender rotating back to guard the net.
"Karson LaRose and Connor Griffith are very fast and have really developed some great chemistry up front. They are both really good in the midfield but playing together up front they have really combined to create a lot of scoring opportunities," said Coach Morley.
"They both work well with Holden Woods and Kam Johnson both both have good speed coming out of the midfield."
Before the game Morley honored Connor Griffith, Greg Mallott, Connor Smith, Kelson Hooper and Nolan O'Donnell and their parents: Rich and Barbie Mallott, Ryan and Misty Griffith, Greg and Beth Hooper, Lisa and Dave Smith and Dr. Paul and Nikki O'Donnell.
"Our seniors have given a lot to our program and it has been a great run," said Coach Morley.
"It has been an honor to coach them and I want to thank their parents for raising such great young men."
In other Central Division action Potsdam gained its first win of the season with a 3-2 victory over Massena.