Woodstock boys trump Rebels

TOWNSHEND — From the first notes of the national anthem sang by Tammy Claussen, it was clear that both teams were hyped up for the sequel of their 2-2 draw earlier in the season.

Perhaps the Rebels should have calmed themselves down before the starting whistle, as Woodstock's Steven Townley slotted a ball under the arm of keeper Quinn Kelloway just a minute and a half into Saturday's bout.

The Leland & Gray varsity boys soccer team was coming into this game having won six of its last seven. The Wasps ended this run, handing the Rebels their first regulation loss this season.

The 1-0 loss to the Wasps dropped the Townshend team to 6-4-1 on the year.

The match was hard fought on both sides, but coach Chris Barton thought the Wasps "wanted it more," and showed more "intensity" than his Rebels, especially in the second half.

Barton also added, "They made several adjustments since we last played them. They played more defensive by adding a sweeper."

The sweeper Barton mentioned was Min Purvis, a star defender for the Wasps. Purvis had a great game, halting the Rebel attack several times.

Another standout defensive performance by the Wasps (4-3-2) came from captain Griffin VanNiel. He had the tough task of marking freshman forward Riley Barton, a task he completed flawlessly, as Barton struggled to get involved along the wings like he usually does.

Despite letting in a shot from Townley, Kelloway had a strong performance the rest of the match. The sophomore keeper racked up nine saves, laying out for the ball on two separate occasions.

The Wasps' keeper, Steven Bianchi, kept a clean sheet, though most of the Rebels' shots missed just wide of the goal, with no need for Bianchi to interfere.

Besides the early blunder, the Leland & Gray defense held up relatively well under the pressure of midfielders Emilio Montano and Isaac Emery, both of whom came very close to scoring in the first and second half respectively.

In particular, defensive backs Lucas Newton and Grayson VanHendrick did well holding down the middle. Each of them made crucial tackles to prevent later opportunities for the visitors.

In the end, this was a hard fought match, ultimately decided by an early goal by the visiting team.


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