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Soccer - Boys Junior Varsity vs. Westminster

Event Type: Regular
Advantage:Away

Date: November 2, 2013

Result:Win
Score:2-1

Event Recap:
The Bears finished our away portion of the season with a fantastic win over an athletic Westminster team.  The first half opened with the Bears looking tentative against our larger opponents and initially, resorting to kick-it soccer.  As we became more comfortable on the pitch, players started challenging for 50-50's and showed much better composure with the ball at their feet.  The Bears aggressive play began to yield some great scoring opportunities.  Several through balls played from the Bears defensive end sprung strikers Chris Zaffanella '15 and Jason Tao '16 on what looked to be one-on-one scoring opportunities with the keeper.  However, the Westy centerback was quick enough to get between the Bears and net and made some great stops.  While the Bears applied pressure, we couldn't consistently possess the ball and had to repel multiple Westy attacks.  Centerbacks Andre Bogdanovic '15 and Connor Shalleck '16 and wingbacks Henry Manley '15 and James Funderburg '15 broke up several good plays in the final third of the field.  The last 10 minutes of the half featured strong performances by wingers Rawson Clough '17 and Josiah Tolvo '16 as both brought an intensity to their sideline that energized their teammates.  Rawson had several good runs down the wing but was unable to get much of a shot off due to some good defending.  
The second half highlighted why I coach.  With some great possession in the midfield by Gerry Giminez-Valdez '15 and Pete Warsinske '14, the Bears began to generate many more offensive opportunities.  Striker Juan Cedeno '17 made a great check to run, turned on his opponent and snuck in to the 18 yard box.  He unleashed a shot that went just wide as he was pushed to the ground by a defender.  Juan continued to be a focal point for our attack and drew several Westy defenders over to him each time he touched the ball.  He slyly dropped one back to Peter Warsinske '14 who volleyed it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.  Within 10 seconds Westy had notched an equalizer with a long ball of the kickoff.  Instead of hanging our heads, the Bears regrouped and fought hard for the remainder of the game.  Eager not to concede yet another tie, the Bears worked tirelessly as a team. Josiah made a great run on a shot that the keeper bobbled.  The ball popped out to Pete who was in the right place at the right team to fire another shot into the back of the net.  The Bears took a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining.  Despite some strong Westy pressure, the Bears didn't crack and held on for the win.  Today was the best test yet of our resiliency, something we've been working on all season, and it showed just how far the boys have come. 
Thanks again for all the support and especially to the Reynolds for the great food on the way home.  We head home for our final two games of the season.  Similar to America after the War of 1812, we've begun to rely on our inherent strength and resources and will need to do so again against two tough opponents.
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