Vikings, Bucks play to 1-1 drawPublished 11:23am Sunday, September 13, 2009
By TOM NYHUIS
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – In a battle of neighboring city rivals, Niles traveled to Buchanan for a boys’ varsity soccer non-league Saturday afternoon.
In a great battle between the two teams when the final seconds clicked off the clock the two teams played to a 1-1 tie with each squad hitting the back of the net in the second half.
The Bucks got their goal early in the half off the foot of senior Richie Reed a minute and a half in to the final 40 minutes.
Niles tied the score late with just 2:19 to play in the contest with Niles sophomore Cicone Palmore knotting the game at one.
“Considering we were down by one with just a couple of minutes to go I was happy that we came out and scored,” Niles coach Jerry Holtgren said of the tie finish. “We doubled their shots and we are never happy with that. We controlled much of the game and they did a nice job playing the long ball over the top and were using that to their advantage. We just have to get better at finishing because this could have been a 1-0 loss or a 5-1 win.”
The Vikings out shot the Bucks 20-10 but it was the keepers on both ends of the field that kept each team in the game. Ryan Casey, a freshman playing his first start at goal for coach Holtgren, looked like a seasoned veteran coming out and making some big stops when the Bucks had the break a ways and a penalty kick inside the box.
The biggest save came late in the game with a break away by the Bucks that could have opened a two goal advantage.
“I was hoping that would have been the end if Ryan (Catalano) gets that goal,” Buchanan coach Brian Pruett said. “There is a good chance that they wouldn’t want to come back after that. We missed it, we missed our chance no big deal I thought we could recover and they (Niles) did a great job on transition. The switch from that end to that end was just quick, fast and just what they needed. A good opportunity for them and they took advantage of it.”
Casey who finished the day with eight saves was praised by Holtgren following the tie.
“He is beyond his years, he is aggressive and not afraid of contact going through the play to get the ball. So I was proud of him,” Holtgren said.
Buchanan’s Steve VanAlstine made six saves as many of the Viking shots were just wide of the post or over the top of the goal.
“I was happy the way we possessed the ball and with the shots we were getting but we have to finish our shots,” Holtgren added. “Cicone can play any position in fact he was into lock down with their size on defense and played some good field for us. Last time we played Buchanan we were down by one and we put him in and he scored. He is one of those guys that can play anywhere very valuable up top and as a defensive minded coach I start defense first and move up. He had 10 minutes up there and scored a big goal.”
Palmore scored on a through ball after the Vikings took control at mid field and played through a split of the Buck defense.
“Steven has been playing well and he doesn’t have a lot of experience before this year and we are still working on him. He has learned how to become more and more aggressive and as the year goes on it is just going to benefit when we get towards districts,” Pruett said of his keeper.
“We have been focusing a lot on our defense at practice because we knew that was one of our weaker areas because of experience but we keep getting better and better. They are not letting goals get them down and they just keep playing hard. It was a very evenly played game calls going back and forth and both taking advantage of our scoring opportunities and that is how it ended,” Pruett said.
Half time score
B- Richie Reed (Ryan Catalano assist) 41st minute
N- Cicone Palmore 77th minute
Shots on goal
Buchanan- 6 (Steven VanAlstine)
Niles- 8 (Ryan Casey)