Valley Sports Report
ENDWELL — Jack Coleman scored the game’s only goal midway through the first half to lift Maine-Endwell to a 1-0 win over Athens here Monday evening in non-league boys soccer action.
The teams combined for 10 shots-on-goal in the contest, with M-E holding a 6-4 advantage. The Spartans also had a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
“M-E is a solid team,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak.
“The game was played between back lines as both teams were denied opportunities on-goal and shots were at a minimum,” he noted. “It was very much a momentum-shifting game and back-and-forth. The teams were pretty evenly-matched.
“I am very pleased with the way we defended them as they have put in a lot of goals so far this season,” said Lezak of the Spartans (4-0), who scored 15 goals in their first three wins. It was Coleman’s 10th goal of the season.
“A few different plays for us up front and we may have come out on top,” he added. “The chances were there, but not great ones. We are only going to get better.”
Lezak said several players off the bench had a chance to show what they could do.
“I was very pleased with the efforts of the players off the bench. They came in against a solid team and it didn't seem to phase them,” he said. “We continued to press and defend well.”
Lezak believes the loss will be beneficial in the long run.
“This game was set up for us to see where we are at early on in the season.
“I’m not pleased or happy that we lost, but we will learn from this and grow as a team,” said Lezak. “Many players stepped it up tonight, and showed us what they can really do and that they belong on the field.
“So from here, we have to continue to work on how we gel as a team,” he continued. “We need to read each other better, we need a better, more consistent passing game and first touch.
“This doesn't mean that I think it was bad tonight. I think we played well,” said Lezak. “This is definitely a playoff-caliber team, like the ones we will see in the postseason. You would expect a game to be won or lost by one goal in the postseason.
“With all that being said, I think this taught the team and myself a lot about where we need to grow. I’d rather lose this early in the season with more games to play than in late October and have to wait another year.
“The unfortunate part is that we were missing a few key players tonight and lost two more,” added Lezak. “It would be nice to be healthy and be able to play them again to see how we have grown.”
Senior Joel Maslin had three saves in net for Athens.
Athens, now 2-1, hosts NEB Wednesday.
IN PHOTO 1: Jesse Sumner (14) and Aaron Lane (14) battle the M-E keeper and defenders for the ball in front of the net. … PHOTOS COURTESY OF JAN VOSBURG.
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