The skies cleared today, and the rainy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon that made for a great outing down to the Trinity Pawling School. After some initial confusion finding the playing field, the Bears finally arrived at the correct pitch and, after a brief warm up, they were ready to face a smaller yet technically talented side. Within the first 5 minutes, Berkshire’s strikers had made their presence felt. Andrew Koudijs ’16 made several great runs, and more than once received the ball after flying past his defender and crossed creating dangerous opportunities for Berkshire. Moments later, winger Corey Wieczorek ‘16 remained open on the right, dribbled to the corner flag and connected with striker Tanner Boyle’s ‘17 whose finishing shot went just wide. As both teams settled into play, the Bears opportunities seemed to dissipate as our possession became more haphazard. However, in the 15th minute, Boyle recovered a loose ball, dribbled past the central defenders and scored unassisted, with a beautiful low shot, the first goal for Berkshire. With a 1-0 lead the Bears looked poised to take control of the match, but some confusion in midfield, an inability to clear the ball in the back, and a desperate foul gave Trinity Pawling a free kick that was executed with perfection to even the game at 1 apiece despite the best efforts of keeper Kenny Sperl ’17. This goal caused great frustration in the squad, and some chaos ensued in Berkshire’s lines that gave the opponents another goal. Substitutions were made to find solutions, and the team regained some composure. New attacks were engineered, and shortly before the half Yuze Zhang’ 16 controlled a ball in midfield and sent it to Sam Merrill’ 16 inside the box who masterfully put it past the goalie into the back of the net. Huge relief at the right time!
In the second half Berkshire put up an inconsistent performance, but the Bears were much more assertive. Within 10 minutes Samuel Bannett’ 17 gained possession of the ball, opened the play to Wieczorek on the right wing who crossed it. When the goalie seemed poised to grab the ball Jack Gustavson’ 16 put his foot in and scored the third goal for Berkshire.Berkshire’s pressure on the left, due mainly to the tireless work of Charlie Goldstein’ 17, started to wear down the opponents’ defense and as the second-half progressed, the Bears were able to generate numerous chances. Converting these chances and remaining onside became the real challenge. Trinity Pawling still managed to stage several counterattacks, but the brave work of Viggo Blomquist’ 17, James Streett’ 16, and the rest of the defensive line were able to stop everything. In the last 15 minutes of the match Berkshire got a conner kick that Gustavson executed with such strength that hit one of the defenders in the head and went in as the fourth goal for Berkshire. While Trinity Pawling was able to steal balls back, the Bears continued to play strong soccer and controlled the tempo of the final ten minutes of the match.
It was a hard-fought victory and while it wasn’t the best soccer, the team demonstrated some of its potential. There is still much room for improvement.