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soccer20110930 Adog celebratesIn their first matchup of the season, the Bobcats boys’ soccer team thoroughly dominated a younger, less experienced Groton team en route to a resounding 7-0 victory, bombarding the Groton goal with shot after shot, and moving the ball around with ease. In their rematch on Wednesday night at Lansing’s Sobus Field, the Groton footballers were determined to make a better showing against their close neighbors, and in doing so demonstrated significant improvement since the first contest. For his part, senior keeper Brandon Pollack did his best to keep his Groton mates in the game for the first 40 minutes, making 7 outstanding saves in the half against New York State’s 5th ranked team in Class C, the Bobcats of Lansing High School.

Despite dominating possession and shots in the first half, it took the Bobcats over 28 minutes to exploit a seam in the Groton defense and find the back of the net. Junior striker Nathaniel McIntosh received a nice through ball from junior midfielder Ethan Kutler, and calmly beat Pollack to the near post with a firm right-footed shot to put the Bobcats up 1-0. Although the strike seemed to inspire the Bobcat offense, the Groton defense held firm, and the teams headed to the break with a 1-0 Lansing advantage.

soccer20110930 WooJinGrotonJunior winger WooJin Richardson moves up field, looing to create a seam in the Groton defense during the Bobcats 6-0 rain soaked victory on Wednesday night. Above: Senior striker Andrew Roth celebrates his first career goal with sophomore, Benji Geisler and senior, Troy Hradisky, giving the Bobcats a 6-0 advantage over Groton at Sobus Field Wednesday night.

Although pleased with their time of possession and number of quality shots, Coach Adam Heck was concerned with the Bobcats’ energy, speed of play and aggressiveness in attacking Groton’s man to man, bunkering defensive strategy.  Giving credit where due, Coach Heck praised the improvement, intensity and effort of Coach John D’Antoni’s squad during half time, but pleaded with his young team to pick up their focus, speed of play and attacking quality if they hoped to dismiss Groton’s upset plans. And that they did—it took only 40 seconds for junior striker Ellington Hopkins to receive a square pass from senior Andrew Barber and drill a shot into the right side netting from just outside the 18 yard box, doubling Lansing’s advantage. Just 40 seconds later, senior midfielder and tri-captain, Sean Streb again found the back of the net, poking a ball through traffic into the net, and making it 3-0. The quick strike Bobcats’ 2-goal outburst allowed Coach Heck to breath a bit easier, and also seemed to take some of the spirit out of Groton’s aggressive game plan.

Leading scorers for the Bobcats, Kutler and sophomore midfielder/defender Benji Geisler added 2nd half tallies for the Bobcats, but the night’s biggest celebration was reserved for a member of the Bobcats’ bench. Senior striker Andy Roth stole the show by scoring is first interscholastic goal after receiving a square pass from Geisler in the 6 yard box, and calmly burying his first scoring opportunity of the year inside the left post, to make the game a 6-0 final; and causing the Lansing bench and soaking wet Sobus Field crowd to cheer wildly for the fan favorite, Roth.

soccer20110930 Troy GrotonSenior winger Troy Hradisky pursues a loose ball in the Bobcats’ offensive zone versus Groton High School.

For the game, Lansing outshot Groton 32-0 and hit the woodwork 4 times, and possessed a 14-0 advantage in corner kicks. Groton keeper Pollack finished with 13 saves on the evening, many of them outstanding as he did his best to keep his team in the game with the highly favored Bobcats. The Lansing boys’ returns to the pitch this evening versus Whitney Point, at Greene High School with a 7:00 p.m. tilt; and will play again Saturday night in the 2nd round of the Greene Tournament versus a team and at a time to be determined.

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