Boys' soccer: Sabres building for postseason play
ROTTERDAM Schalmont picked up an easy 7-0 win over Colonial Council foe Cobleskill-Richmondville on Tuesday, but the Sabres know they still have work to do if they want to win the league championship and challenge for the Class B title.
“We’re playing pretty well right now, but still have a lot to work on. We’re not there yet. We’ll get there,” said center midfielder Gino Rossi, who combined with freshman Cameron LaVallee to control play against the Bulldogs.
Rossi scored three goals against Cobleskill-Richmondville, and set up senior Jimmy Jaster’s first varsity goal as the Sabres improved to 5-1-1 in opening the second half of their 13-game Colonial Council season.
“Gino is playing really well, and he has taken the captain’s leadership position by himself and done a very, very, very good job with that,” said Sabres coach Jason Beck. “I’m proud of his effort. He’s the main reason the kids are cohesive.
“He’ll carry equipment every day. A lot of times, you get a young kid and they have success and get really cocky. He’s the exact opposite. He wants to play in college, and coaches are looking for kids that are coachable and versatile.”
The Sabres (6-2-1 overall) opened their season with a 5-1 loss to Class A Troy in the first round of the Capital Cup, and are 4-0-1 since losing to divisional rival Albany Academy on the Cadets’ field.
“The goals are always to improve throughout the season, both individually and as a team,” said Rossi, who has combined with senior Chris Bubb to give the Sabres a dangerous scoring combination. “The team goal is to do what we can to go as far as we can in sectionals.”
“We want to win every game, play well, keep improving,” said Bubb, whose pass across the goalmouth set up A. J. Jasenski for the first goal against the overmatched and undermanned (just two substitutes) Bulldogs, who fell to 1-4-0.
The senior also set up Devin Murphy for a goal. LaVallee also got his first varsity goal, and assisted on two more.
“We’ve got a really young group, and because we like to play a passing game, it takes more time,” said Beck, who had six juniors, plus LaVallee, in the starting lineup. “It’s something we’re trying to develop with the younger players we’re bringing into the program. We’ve got a long way to go.”
The move of 11th-grader Joe Wignot from midfield to central defense to team with Dalton Lewandowski and outside backs Mike Dougall and Greg Musk has solidified a group that has allowed only five goals in its last eight games.
“We’re getting there,” said Beck. “Joe and Dalton are in the middle, and they’re doing well. It took some time, because Joe was a midfielder and we moved him back. Mike Dougall and Greg Musk are playing well on the outside. Those four are solid. And [goalkeeper] Tyler Smith will keep us in games. He played outstanding against Ichabod Crane.”
The Sabres held Albany Academy to a season-low in goals in a 2-1 loss, tied a strong Ichabod Crane team, 1-1, and beat Voorheesville, 1-0. They’ll see division rivals Academy and Voorheesville again at the end of the regular season.
“We’ve played Academy, Ichabod Crane and Voorheesville, all good competition, and we’ve done well against them,” said Rossi.
“We’ve still got some tough league games ahead of us,” Beck said. “We play Academy here. We’ve got Voorheesville again.”
Schalmont is looking for a strong finish to league play to get some momentum for what should be a tough Class B tournament.
“There’s some outstanding competition in Class B,” said Beck. “Ichabod Crane is an outstanding team. Broadalbin-Perth is outstanding. Schuylerville is looking strong, so is Tamarac. The tournament is going to be strong.”
“We don’t want the season to end early,” Bubb said. “We want to go as long as we can, but we’ve got to work hard.”