|KINGSWOOD KEEPER Alden Garland leaps to punch the ball away as teammate Mitch Tappan and Kennett’s Dominic Lentini (left) and Alex Milford close in. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
September 19, 2011NORTH CONWAY — After getting shut out in the two previous games, the Kennett boys' soccer team broke out the offense when Carroll County rival Kingswood came to town on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The Knights, who have been struggling to score throughout the season, were not able to get on the board and the Eagles picked up an 8-0 win.
Kennett dominated the early going, as Alex Milford, Kurt Niiler and Seth Davison all tested Kingswood keeper Alden Garland.
The Knights got their first chance from Andrew Place, but Kennett's Adam Levine made a nice defensive play to keep the Knights from getting on the board.
Milford just missed connections with Davison and Niiler's cross to Austin Hale was stopped by Garland.
However, 10 minutes in, Niiler drove home a rebound of a Garland save for a 1-0 lead for the Eagles.
Chris Pollini had a good bid for the Knights, as he sent a pass in to Nick Woodard and Place, but they couldn't connect on net and Kennett came right back, with Milford, Niiler and Davison getting chances.
The Eagles got a corner kick 22 minutes into the half and Hale headed home the ball for a 2-0 lead.
Just six minutes later, Alex Fauver upped the lead to 3-0 as the Eagles continued to pressure. Mike Albert, Dominic Lentini and Milford all had scoring chances in the final minutes of the first half but Garland made some big saves to keep things close for his Knights.
The Knights lost Woodard in the early moments of the second half, thinning an already depleted bench and Kennett was able to take advantage, as Davison sent a ball into the crease and Milford headed it home for a 4-0 lead six minutes into the second half.
Three minutes later, Davison got Garland to commit and then poked the ball past the Knight keeper for a 5-0 lead.
The best chance of the afternoon for the Knights came a few minutes later when they were awarded a penalty kick. Pollini stepped up to the ball and drilled it on net, but Kennett keeper Ryan Vajentic made a diving save to keep his shutout in tact.
Garland was hurt on a Kennett corner kick chance and Travis Hughes took over in net. Davison then drilled one past the new keeper for a 6-0 lead.
Place had another great bid for Kingswood, but Vajentic made a diving save and Garland was able to return to the field just a few moments later. Garland then made a big save on Kieffer Bradley and another on Hale. Albert and Mike Knorpp also had chances sail wide.
Milford upped the lead to 7-0 when he headed home a nice feed from Hale with eight minutes to go then added another in the final minutes for the 8-0 win.
"At some point, we need the defense to take ownership," Kingswood coach Mike Best said. "Kennett has one or two quick guys up front that we wanted to mark. But they didn't get the looks the other guys got."
Best noted that one goal in the early part of the game could've made it a different game for his team. He also praised Place for stepping up and making strong runs and Hughes and Bill Pelligrino for carrying their weight as well.
He pointed out that the injury to Woodard certainly wouldn't help his team, but others would need to step up.
Garland also earned the coach's praise for his play in net, pointing out that the team giving up 30 to 40 shots a game is not ideal, but Garland does his best to stop them all.
"It's frustrating when outside elements hold us back from playing our game," Kennett coach Mike Jenne said. "When we get beat by great teams, we're not playing bad. As long as we stick to our game, that's what we need to do."
Jenne was pleased to see his team bounce back from a couple of tough games in which they were shut out.
"Our confidence is good going into the next stretch of games," Jenne said. "We've got to win at home because it's tough to win on the road."
The Eagles will be in action on Friday, Sept. 23, at Coe-Brown at 4 p.m.
The Knights will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 23, at home against Somersworth at 4 p.m.
The two teams will meet again on Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Wolfeboro at 4 p.m.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126