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Souther, Lush lead Knights to first win


Kingswood soccer boys best Plymouth 1-0 in Alumni Field debut



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JASON BECKWITH looks to control the ball as a couple of Plymouth defenders close in during action Sept. 21 on Alumni Field. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 27, 2010
WOLFEBORO — It was a long time coming, no questions asked.

After going all of last season without getting in the win column, the Kingswood boys' soccer team has certainly been hungry for a win this season.

However, after six games, that hunger had gone unanswered, with the Knights unable to find enough offense to put away a win.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, playing for the first time on the new turf of Alumni Field, the Knights finally satisfied that hunger, as Jeremy Souther scored the game's lone goal and keeper Casey Lush stood on his head to give the Knights a 1-0 win in front of a good crowd of parents, friends and Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation soccer teams.

The Knights had traveled to Plymouth earlier in the season and came away with a tough 8-1 defeat on Sept. 7, but this time things were a bit different, as the Knights were looking to continue the Kingswood winning streak on the new turf field. The football, girls' soccer and field hockey team had all won their first games on the turf, with the boys being the final team to take a crack at it.

"We knew the field would be tough, but it helped to get out here yesterday," said coach Mike Best, who earned his first win as the Knight varsity coach.

The Bobcats and Knights battled back and forth early on, with Plymouth getting a number of chances early on, only to see shots sail high and wide. Lush also made a couple of solid saves in the opening minutes to keep Plymouth off the board.

Souther, Jake Vekos and MacKenzie Tetreault combined for Kingswood's first scoring chance, but the Plymouth defense held.

However, less than eight minutes into the game, the Knights broke through, as Souther broke in from the left side and drilled the ball off the far post and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Kingswood quickly went looking for more, with Souther sending in a nice lead pass for Scott Chrysafidis, who collided with the Plymouth goalie as they both leaped for the ball near the post. Jack Bowen also sent a shot wide for the Knights.

Plymouth came back up the field with a couple of solid bids, but the defense of Souther and Joe Pelligrino and a couple of great saves from Lush kept the visitors from getting on the board.

Chris Pollini, Jason Beckwith and Chrysafidis kept the offensive pressure on with good looks in the zone and Bowen, Pelligrino and Lush turned in great efforts at the other end to keep Plymouth from tying the game. The Bobcats also sent a shot wide of the net.

In the final few minutes of the half, the Bobcats had two corner kicks, but they were unable to find the net and the Knights shut down the Bobcats the remainder of the half and took a 1-0 lead to the break.

After Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation soccer teams took the field for halftime games, the Knights returned to the turf and continued to play with determination as they desperately wanted their first win of the season.

Lush turned away numerous early Plymouth chances and others soared wide. Pelligrino also made a solid defensive clear and Vekos had Kingswood's best early chance for another goal, but sent the shot wide.

Lush continued to stand on his head as the Bobcats became more and more desperate for the tying goal. The Knight keeper batted away attempt after attempt, including a nice diving save on a great Plymouth scoring bid.

It looked like the Bobcats finally broke through with 10:15 to play, as they slipped a shot past a diving Lush. However, the attacker was ruled offsides and the goal was negated.

Plymouth seemingly used that as fire, as the Bobcats relentlessly attacked the Kingswood net, forcing Lush to make a trio of great saves down the stretch and as the clock ticked down to zero, the Knights and their fans erupted in celebration of a moment they had been waiting for for a few years.

"We've been practicing all year for something like this," Best said. "We made some adjustments on our defense and the kids worked hard in practice."

The Knight coach also noted that the team held a meeting without the coaches prior to the game.

"We have no idea what went on, but we're glad they did it," Best said with a smile.

He praised Chrysafidis and Souther for their stellar efforts and also heaped praise on Lush for backstopping the win, Kingswood's first shutout in approximately eight years.

"He did what he was supposed to do and that's why he's back there," Best stated.

The Knights were unable to harness all of the energy from the win on Friday, however, as they dropped a 7-0 decision to a strong Somersworth team on the road. The Knights practiced using a small field in the days leading up to the game, due to the fact that the 'Toppers play on the smallest field allowed by NHIAA standards.

"Somersworth is a well controlled team and we didn't really test their defense as much as we hoped," Best said. "We prepare for each game differently according to our strengths and weaknesses versus opponents', but even the best laid out plans only work with proper execution.

"We did have a few good runs and through balls to corners which created opportunities in front of goal, but didn't finish," he continued.

Kingswood also hosted a clinic for youth soccer players on Saturday, with members of the girls' and boys' teams in attendance to mentor the youngsters.

The Knights will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 1, when they host Inter-Lakes at 4 p.m. The team will host Gilford at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

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