Northampton Press

Sunday, October 22, 2017
Press photo by Linda RothrockPaul Connelly and the Kids recently fell to Central and won’t make the District 11 playoffs this season. Press photo by Linda RothrockPaul Connelly and the Kids recently fell to Central and won’t make the District 11 playoffs this season.

Boys continue their search for offense

Thursday, October 12, 2017 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

Northampton boys soccer coach Adam Bastidas looks nothing like actor Bill Murray.

He may feel a bit like him though, especially considering Murray’s role in the movie Groundhog Day, where Murray keeps waking up and repeating the same day over and over. For Bastidas, the day goes wrong when his team gives up a goal and then inevitably gives up another and sometimes, another in quick succession.

“That’s probably happened to us about four or five times this year,” said Bastidas of the predictable play. “Goals will be scored, that’s just part of the game, but it’s how you respond, and quite frankly, we just don’t respond well to it. We try to encourage them to remain confident and keep playing hard, but for whatever reason, our heads just seem to drop.”

While you would think it’s a defense problem, much of the issue may come from the offensive side where Northampton has struggled to score goals this season. In 17 games this season, Northampton (3-11-1 EPC, 4-12-1 overall) has scored just 20 goals. They endured a streak of three straight shutouts at one point in the season before breaking out of the slide with a 5-1 nonconference win over Salisbury. In the five games since then though the offense has gone back into hibernation, scoring just three times in five games.

“Since we’ve struggled to score, I think once a team scores on us, we fold for a couple minutes and we wait to get back into the game and by that time, they’ve scored again and the game is now almost out of reach,” said Bastidas.

It happened against Emmaus when the Hornets scored three times in a span of just 1:25 to go up 3-0. By the end of the game, it was a 6-0 loss for the Konkrete Kids. The latest example came Tuesday night when Parkland had scored a goal with just 1:18 left in the first half and Northampton was able to keep them from repeating it for the rest of the half, but just 16-minutes into the second half, Groundhog Day struck again. The Trojans Josh Kiser scored twice in just 38-seconds to put Parkland up 3-0. Seven-minutes later, Parkland was back at it when they scored twice with in 2:42 to put the game out of reach in what turned out to be a 7-0 loss.

“We’re a pretty young squad overall and we have a lot of juniors, but they are inexperienced on the varsity level,” said Bastidas. It’s more than varsity level inexperience, and to me, sometimes we just don’t pull the trigger when we should. It’s difficult to watch, because if you don’t shoot, you’re not going to score.”

While he admits to being frustrated, Bastidas believes that the effort is there from his players even if the results haven’t come through for them this season.

“I don’t think it’s laziness, maybe it’s a lack of understanding, even though we’ve been over this. Even as a defender, you crash your own goal. A shot comes in, you crash to get there first so you can clear that out.”

With no shot at EPC or District 11 playoffs, Northampton’s season will end tonight when they host rival Nazareth.