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Taylor propels Knights past Bobcats

Kingswood keeper comes up huge in second half

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

JEFF MADDEN clears the ball out of the zone in action against Plymouth on Sept. 23. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 30, 2013
WOLFEBORO — After a penalty kick in overtime allowed Plymouth to edge out the Kingswood soccer boys on Sept. 10, the Knights were out for a little revenge on Monday, Sept. 23, when the Bobcats came to Wolfeboro.

And the Knights got just what they were looking for, though it wasn't terribly easy.

Plymouth dominated in the second half, controlling the pace of play for most of the final 40 minutes, but the Knights, led by fierce goaltending from Trent Taylor, held on and walked off with a 2-1 victory, the second win of the season for the Kingswood squad.

"Our defense did a good, solid job back there," Knight coach Mike Best stated. "And Trent kept us in the game with some great saves."

He noted it would've been nice to have more offensive pressure in the second half, to take some of the pressure off of Taylor and the defense, but the end result was what the Knights were looking for.

Kingswood wasted no time right out of the gate, as Travis Drapeau tapped the ball past the Bobcat goalie in the first minute of play, giving the Knights an instant advantage.

The Bobcats followed that goal up with a good deal of pressure in their offensive end, with Taylor forced to make a couple of big saves to allow his team to hold the lead.

Kingswood got a corner kick chance after a bit of pressure from Mitch Tappan in the zone, but the ball was cleared out of the box and Brendan Donahue's long boot went wide of the net.

Clancy Mason, Jeff Madden and Mark Chrysafidis turned in solid defensive plays on the Bobcats, helping out Taylor. Drapeau, Chrysafidis and Tappan all had good bids in the offensive zone as well, but they were unable to convert. Brian Palumbo had a good look denied and Drapeau had one shot blocked by the defense and another stopped by the Bobcat keeper. Andy Gamero came up with a nice steal in the midfield and sent a shot just wide, while Chrysafidis had a direct kick stopped by the Plymouth goalie.

Plymouth had a couple of late chances, but they couldn't connect and the game went to halftime with the Knights still clinging to the 1-0 lead.

Plymouth came out kicking in the second half, as the Bobcats had numerous chances in the early minutes, including one stretch where they had four corner kicks in a row. However, two shots went wide, Madden cleared one and Taylor tipped another look to get the Knights out of trouble.

Kingswood did manage to capitalize on its first trip up the field in the second half, as Chrysafidis blasted a shot to the top shelf just seven minutes into the half to up the Kingswood lead to 2-0.

Plymouth continued its assault in the Kingswood zone, with Madden chipping in with strong defense and Taylor turning away a couple of good chances as the Bobcats kept putting the ball on net.

The visitors finally solved Taylor with 14 minutes to go, as a crossing pass was headed home, cutting the lead to 2-1.

Palumbo and Chrysafidis had chances in the offensive zone, but the Bobcats were strong on defense and didn't let much get through to the goaltender.

Kingswood had a corner kick chance that Luke O'Brien nearly tipped in, but he was denied at the post by the Bobcat defense. O'Brien had another shot stopped by the Bobcat keeper as well.

Mason and Madden continued their strong defense and Taylor made a couple more saves, all while staring into the setting sun and the Knights were able to hold off the Bobcats for the 2-1 win.

"These guys keep playing physical," Best said. "And now we're starting to put two halves together."

The Kingswood coach praised the work of Drapeau, Chrysafidis, Palumbo and Gamero up front in getting the offensive chances for the Knights.

"I'm proud of the way they played and didn't quit," Best said. "Plymouth is a good team and they have big kids I was nervous about."

The Knights had the remainder of the week off and will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 4, when they head to Somersworth for a 4 p.m. game. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, they host Berlin at 4 p.m.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com

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