Pinkerton Astros Boys Soccer '10

Sun, Nov 07, 2010 06:15 PM @ Pinkerton
Team 1st 2nd Final
Playoff Game
Manchester Central 0 0 0
Pinkerton 1 2 3

Pinkerton disarms Central, wins championship

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Sunday, November, 07 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

MANCHESTER — Winning doesn't always come about by just playing to one's strengths. Sometimes identifying and neutralizing the best attribute of your opponent is the best path to victory.

Pinkerton head coach Kerry Boles pegged that if Manchester Central used effective ball movement with team speed that his squad would be challenged to match. Disarming the second-seeded Little Green through hard work, discipline and staunch defense, combined with stellar goaltending from an injured Peter Siragusa, did the trick last night.

Just as important was that the No. 4 Astros converted on almost every quality scoring opportunity they had.

Closing strong, Pinkerton pulled away for a 3-0 victory and a second Division 1 state title in the past three years before 1,838 at Southern New Hampshire University.

"(Central is) so dangerous, so fast, and they move the ball so well," Boles said. "We knew we'd be playing defense a lot. We didn't want to help them out by committing stupid fouls. It looked like we were on our heels but there was a game plan behind it all."

The plan was to put a human wall at the top of the penalty area and dare Central to bust through. The efforts of towering defender Alex Patrikis along with effective marking of scoring machine Yannick Kabala limited the Little Green's chances to a pair of direct kicks that never found the mark.

"They're unbelievably fast so we had to do something to slow them down," Patrikis said of his physical defense inside the box and quick clears of passes into the scoring zone. "I do my part and we have to play our role. It's not as fun as scoring but a win's a win."

And Patrikis' role became bigger when a collision between Siragusa and Central's Max Yee put both players on the pitch. The pair banged legs and Siragusa's left knee was stepped on, leaving a gash that needed 5 minutes to deal with before the goalie could continue.

"I don't even know what happened, but it was the championship game," Siragusa said. "I wasn't going to come out of the game."

With the Central offense thrown off balance, the Astros attack picked its spots effectively.

In the 23rd minute, Brian Kling pushed the ball down the right wing to a hustling Nick Valentine who sent a cross into the box just behind Sean Smith.

"That was a great cross by Nick," Smith said. "I saw it go by (defender) Sean MacDonald and I knew I had to get that first goal. Most championships are decided by the first goal. It's crucial."

Stepping back to grab the ball, Smith unleashed a blast that beat goalie Colin Farrington to the lower left corner of the net.

"I saw the goalie cheating so I decided to beat him the other way," Smith explained.

With Central holding a slight edge in positional play, Pinkerton went for the jugular with 5:15 left to play.

Kyle Erhardt lofted a perfect 45-yard free kick into the penalty area where Hayden Hicks won a 1-on-1 battle, heading the ball in for a huge 2-0 lead.

"My defender was a little smaller than me and it was a good ball that came in perfectly," Hicks said. "It wasn't a designed play. I just went up and did what I was supposed to do."

The Astros locked up victory 1 1/2 minutes later on its only corner kick of the night. Trevor Carignan's cross dribbled out of Farrington's hands and Erik Shaw was Johnny-on-the-spot to volley the loose ball into the net.

"We might not have been the best skill players but we're all blue-collar kids," Carignan said. "We'll work our tails off and in the end it pays off for us because we just win games. You can have all the skill in the world, but if you don't have a work ethic, you're not going to win anything."

Game Statistics:

Division 1 championship

Goals:  P — Sean Smith, Hayden Hicks, Erik Shaw 

Assists: P — Nick Valentine, Kyle Erhardt, Trevor Carignan

Saves: P — Peter Siragusa 5, Cam Mahoney 1; MC — Colin Farrington 1

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