Downtown soccer action


Bologna vs. Bari

It was a gorgeous afternoon for soccer Saturday when Bologna met Bari in the Minor 8 division of Downtown Soccer.

The first half of this match featured a pumped-up offensive effort by Bologna, which won 3-0. 

Good ball handling, hustle, and persistence on the field led to attempted shots-on goal by James Hull, Sader Matar and Brandon Liu. But Ben Beaumont was there, blocking the shots and getting the ball back to his Bari teammates.

However, excellent dribbling by Jake Katzenberg, Joshua Fish, and Jackson Manfield, and strong defense from Oscar Sullivan, Ruby Marzovilla and Lucy Winokur kept the ball in Bologna’s possession. Finally, Matar kicked one by Beaumont for the first goal.

In the second half, Samuel Duffy played goalie for Bari, and he blocked another attempt by Matar and one by Winokur of Bologna, while Eva Vignola of Bari was also tough on defense. 

Matar powered one through for the second Bologna goal. The team never let up on its attempts to keep the ball, and strong corner kicks and throw-ins meant the ball was often in Bologna’s possession. A surprising header from Jack Vegas, and later a throw-in to Jeremiah Wysoker lead up to the final score, a beautiful slanted kick by Joshua Fish.

Livingston vs. Celtics

As afternoon shadows crept across the field and mothers started to wish they had put on something warmer, there was at least plenty of heat coming from the field as Livingston and the Celtics crossed swords Saturday afternoon, ending in a score of 2-0, Celtics.

Livingston started hot with defender Charlotte Youklis feeding several pretty passes to forward Alex Hirsh and midfielder Theo Fandrich, but they were turned aside each time by defensive captain Michael “The Professor” Shorris and Taylor “The Road Warrior” White.

Marcus Chan and Austin Chin also displayed some fine teamwork for Livingston only to have their pockets picked by midfielders Eve Grassfield and Vilde Stokke. William Merril and Sophia Shapiro combined to stop several drives by Celtic forward Chloe Lombardi, but sharp footwork and a perfectly timed pass from field general Aidan “The Flash” Rogers to returning center Bryan “Speedy Gonzales” Gomez put one into the right corner for the first score of the game.

Livingston battled back with Hirsh delivering several good rushes and a shot on goal only to be turned aside by Celtic goalie Joltin’ Jimmie Demsak, who recorded his first shut-out of the season. Sophia Shapiro got into the act for Livingston with two steals and Maximo Maluso put on the pressure with a number of fine plays, but it was not enough to stop a determined “Flash” as Rogers repeatedly got back on defense to turn the tide, pushing the balls up through a game defense and finding a streaking “Speedy” Gomez for the game’s final tally. Midfielder Anthony O’Donnell played his best game of the season for the Green with four take-aways and a perfectly timed clearing pass to Elaine “Rocket-girl” Farah, who pushed the ball well all game.

Was it was the nip in the air or the thrill of posing before the camera that motivated the previously winless Celtics to a much-needed 2-0 victory? “We may never know, but we’ll take it,” said embattled third-year coach Will Rogers. “I’m in my option year and things had been a bit grim until last week’s 0-0 tie against Aberdeen.

“This is the first time we’ve had the whole team healthy and on the field together,” continued Rogers, “it wasn’t easy losing so many kids from last year, but we’ve been lucky enough to find some steady replacements. First year players Henri Lilien and Mazzie had exceptional games; defender Marissa Song was solid and forward Hunter Wolf was a force on the ball. Center forward Justin Wenig was huge for us early on, but we lost him to a bout of asthma. I sure hope we get him back soon.”