Boys soccer gets a key win vs. Emmaus
With Northampton fighting for a district playoff berth, boys soccer head coach Ryan Brazuk admitted that they needed to steal a game against one of the teams above them in the division.
Well, the Konkrete Kids broke into the vault last Friday afternoon and committed the perfect heist. They defeated previously unbeaten Emmaus, a nationally-ranked team that had spoiled the Kids opener with a 4-0 win. Moreover, they shutout the Green Hornets who had scored 51 goals prior to last week’s rematch.
Brazuk admitted that he didn’t expect that Emmaus would prove to be the team where they got one of those needed wins, but understands the significance.
“That sets the tone for the rest of the season now,” said Brazuk.
He described their training session prior to the Hornet match as “phenomenal.” He said that they were together for three hours, watching film, going over set pieces, and practicing on the field. He said all that work showed up in Friday’s match.
“It’s just their application and concepts that I teach them; that’s why they won today,” said Brazuk.
After holding the Hornets scoreless in the first half, something they did in the opener, Brazuk knew something special was brewing.
“I just knew something was good about today,” said Brazuk. “It was a quality session yesterday, and today they were all locked in. I’m really proud of them.”
Goalkeeper Brady Rimple was clutch in the win, making a number of big saves, none more impressive than a one-handed stab early in the second half, while Joseph Tiwold’s pass found a streaking Colin Werkheiser down the near sideline as he outraced the defender to tuck it inside the near post for the game-winning goal.
Werkheiser said that he was running down the field, and once he received the pass from Tiwold, it was just the goalkeeper standing in his way.
“I shot it at the front post hoping it would go in, and it went in,” said Werkheiser.
Werkheiser said he had enough time to gauge where he wanted to go with the ball and got it by the outstretched arms of Hornet goalkeeper Aidan Connolly with 4:46 left in the match.
He said that they came into the game knowing that they could compete with Emmaus.
“As the game went on, it just seemed like we were pulling together as a group, and that’s how we won,” said Werkheiser.
When Werkheiser broke through the stalemate, Brazuk said that is was the product of something they’ve been practicing where they keep those through balls on the ground. He said it was another instance of applying what they’ve learned.
The 1-0 win, put them a game above .500 at 7-6, and also served notice that these Kids come to play. It was also their fourth-straight victory and positions them
While the larceny metaphor fits the analogy used by Brazuk as he looked at their upcoming Skyline Division games, it actually belies what they accomplished on the field. They didn’t steal anything, but actually outplayed the Green Hornets throughout the match. They generated more chances and kept goalkeeper Connolly busy, especially in the second half.
Another big reason for the win was the play of their own goalkeeper. Rimple made big saves throughout the match, challenging when he needed to challenge, and keeping second chances away from their talented forwards.
In their first meeting, the Hornets scored four goals, and Rimple said that the beginning of the season marked a period where they weren’t playing that well. Losers of three straight to start the season, he said that they came to practice every day and worked hard, noting that last Thursday’s session was especially intense.
“We got ready for this game; possessed the ball; played really well, and made opportunities and finished them,” said Rimple.
“We just knew that we had to play hard defense,” said Rimple who recorded his fourth shutout of the season. “Every one of the players on their team is really good, and they have one of the best offenses in the league. We had to play hard and get a goal, and that’s what we did.”
Rimple said that they still need as many wins as they can get since they embark on a tough five-game stretch.
While they got the theft they were looking for, Brazuk said that it was all the hard work his team put into the match that led to the win.
NHS got another big win Monday, shutting out Whitehall 2-0, a team that had not been blanked this season.
Anthony Snyder and Kevin Lechner, on an assist from Joe Tiwold, scored for the Kids and Rimple was big in goal saving 10 shots.