October 30, 2009
Red Lions pounce quickly on visitor
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Jessie Constantino (right) of Cincinnatus tries to cut off Watertown’s Sam Purcell in the first half of Thursday’s Class D sectional soccer game. Host Cincy rolled to a 4-0 victory.
CINCINNATUS — Coach Leigh Wright admitted to being “scared to death” about his Cincinnatus Central boys’ soccer team’s first-round Section 3 Class D contest with visiting Watertown Immaculate Heart Central Thursday afternoon.
The Cavaliers came in at 4-12 on the season, but played against Class B and C teams in the Frontier League this season and also went against Class A Watertown High three times. As a private school, they were given a berth in the Class D tournament because they beat LaFargeville in their only game against a ‘D’ squad.
The key, then, was to jump on the blue-clad visitors early, gain control and keep it.
Mission accomplished, as sophomore striker Jason Lindley scored 57 seconds into the game off an assist by classmate Cody Warner, a halfback, and the Red Lions got five saves from senior goaltender Wolfie Rheinheimer for the shutout in a 4-0 victory.
“We wanted to score before them. We needed to play up and play harder,” Wright said, his team now 14-3 on the season after its muddy victory and set to host No. 6 Lyme in the quarterfinals. The contest is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Lyme (13-4) a 4-0 winner over No. 11 Remsen Thursday afternoon.
“We worked in practice on the very play we used to score the first goal. We pushed things and Jason played it beautifully,” said Wright.
After taking a pass from Warner, Lindley went in and took a shot that hit IHC senior goalkeeper Brian Magovney and found the back of the net. “We wanted to score early and put them back on their heels,” said Lindley, who now has 14 goals this season. “I just took the shot, and it hit off their keeper and went right in.”
The Red Lions gave the home crowd even more to cheer about 9:35 into the game, as sophomore striker Nick Constantino took a pass on the right wing from his brother Jessie, a freshman halfback, and hammered a high shot that cleared Magovney’s outstretched hands and found the upper corner on the opposite side, his 15th goal this fall.
“A two-goal lead can be dangerous, because you can get back on your heels if the other team scores, makes it close and grabs the momentum,” Wright said. “I would have liked to have seen that third goal come earlier in the second half, especially since they pressed us for awhile, but Wolfie held strong. They had more control of the second half. They played pretty much a flat-back defense, because no one they had could keep up with (sophomore striker) Jake Stone or Nick. I changed things up and we played flat-back defensively, too. I liked it, and may do it in the next game.”
“We’ve had a number of games this year where we’ve had to battle back, so giving up the first goal wasn’t a concern,” IHC coach Andrew Short said. “Even down 2-0 at the half, play had been relatively even in the middle of the field. We thought that they were more physical than we were in the first half, and that we needed to put a lot more pressure on them with our offense. We told the guys that they had 40 minutes to get two goals and get to overtime, but we couldn’t muster even one goal.
“I thought we completely dominated the second half all over the field, except for inside the 18-yard line; we couldn’t finish, so the rest of it didn’t matter. And they had a couple of real talented players up front (Stone and Nick Constantino) who stretched our defense and just played phenomenally.”
IHC did indeed step up its game in the second half, outshot 10-4 in the first half but narrowing that deficit to 9-5 in the second, the Red Lions with an overall 19-9 advantage. The hosts ended up with a 7-6 edge in corner kicks after Cincy had a 5-2 edge in that department in the first half. Magovney ended up making eight saves in the contest.
Junior halfback Shondel Wright, the coach’s son, got the third goal (his ninth this season), the one that ended the suspense, from close range on the left wing side with 13:13 left after a crossing pass from Nick Constantino that was tipped in front by a sliding Stone. “Then I looked to get in some of the JV players we called up,” Leigh Wright said.
Stone finished off the scoring with 7:09 remaining with his team-high 23th goal of the year off assists from Lindley and sophomore fullback Joe Peri.
“It was a team effort,” Leigh Wright said. “Everyone stepped up and played their hearts out. I prefer to play someone like this, that we haven’t seen, rather than a league team. The kids are up for it more. It’s time for sectionals, rather than a game that seems like just another league contest.”
Lindley agreed, noting that “It’s better to play someone you don’t no w about, because it makes us pick up our game and play harder.
“I like it (playing an unknown opponent) because it gave both of us a chance to figure out the other’s style of play,” Short said. “Going against people you don’t know makes everyone play better.”
“The kids have wanted to make it farther in sectionals than last year,” Leigh Wright said. The Red Lions lost 3-2 to eventual state champion Hamilton in last year’s quarterfinals, so a win Saturday would accomplish that goal.
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