Dons Dispense with 16 Seed Piedmont in the Opening Game of the NCS Tourney
Acalanes 5, Piedmont 1
Halftime: 1-1. Scoring: Acalanes, N. Lee (D. Glascock) 19:00, M. Helfrich (N. Lee) 47:00,
K. Simonsen (M. Mirner) 63:00, M. Mirner (M. Helfrich) 72:00, D. Glascock (S. Lee) 77:00.
Piedmont, C. Hanf (A. Papachristopoulos) 26:00.
On an atmospheric playoff evening at Acalanes, all was good. Playing a terribly young (just 3 seniors, 11 frosh/soph players) but pass savvy Piedmont HS, Acalanes used their own savvy to feel-out Piedmont in the first half before exerting their obvious superiority and power in the second half.
The match started brightly with end-to-end soccer, however it was noticeably different when each team pressed into the attacking third. While Piedmont’s plays tended to be broken up before they became dangerous, the Don’s forays often ended with serious threats on goal. In the first 6 minutes alone, the Don’s speedy winger Ben Croze poured dangerous right wing crosses into Piedmont’s goal area, the first leading to a fine effort by the dangerous Nick Lee, who fired just over the crossbar. Croze’s second causing havoc with Piedmont’s defense at 6’s and 7’s. On 16 minutes, a dangerous Piedmont free kick into the Don’s 6 yard box was caught well by high rising goalie Eric Rogstad. As they say in soccer, bi-line crosses will kill you, and on an evening when all 5 Acalanes goals came from either bi-line or wide crosses, it’s hard to argue that poin
On 19 minutes, National HS player of the week, Danny Glascock, in Piedmont’s defensive third, chased down a ball at the bi-line and sent in a lobbed cross. Piedmont’s otherwise excellent goalie on the night, Corey Collier, somehow fumbled the ball only to see Nick Lee pounce and shoot into the net from close range, 1-0 Don’s. A deserved goal for Acalanes after several dangerous attacks forward. However, just 7 minutes later, uncharacteristically, the Don’s defense were caught napping as they left their goalie unprotected allowing Piedmont to score a terrific goal. Attacking down the right wing, Piedmont’s Charlie Hanf found himself unmarked just outside the Don’s 18 yard box and charging into the box he sent a powerful low shot into the Don’s net, 1-1. On 33 minutes, after winning a high ball at the edge of Piedmont’s goal area, Stuart Lee charged on goal only for goalie Corey Collier to make a fine save low. Minutes later, a Stuart Lee wide right cross to a high rising Luc Van Oss was very well intercepted by Piedmont’s goalie, but now the Don’s were starting to exert themselves and put more and more pressure on Piedmont. A patented Graham Lindgren long throw-in onto Piedmont’s goal area almost found Luc Van Oss. Seconds later, again Van Oss was causing all kinds of problems as he rose above all in Piedmont’s goal mouth to send a powerful header over the crossbar from a dangerous, Stuart Lee right wing cross. Now late in the first half it was all Don’s going forward while Piedmont were having a tough time getting up the park as the Don’s defensive midfield, in particular Graham Lindgren, were breaking up most plays, Lindgren himself had a game high 3 steals on the night.
The second half was all Don’s! In the first minute a crazy Piedmont goal-mouth scramble could have resulted in a Don’s goal as Piedmont defended stoutly. A minute later, Max Mirner’s powerful shot went just wide of Piedmont’s goal. On 47 minutes, Nick Lee, charging down the left wing, crossed beautifully for Mark Helfrich to scramble home from close range, 2-1 Don’s. Now it was all Don’s all the time! On 63 minutes, Max Mirner’s clever chip from the bi-line into the goal mouth at the near post was met by a half diving Kaj Somonsen, who’s fine header made it 3-1 Don’s. Piedmont kept playing soccer as their pass savvy style will always earn them a good deal of possession but with the Don’s senior filled squad, Piedmont’s younger team were starting to wilt in the face of bigger and stronger athletes. As Piedmont tired they also started to rack up fouls and ended the game with 15 along with 3 yellows cards to boot.
On 66 minutes, a long Nick Warren free kick into Piedmont’s goal area was met well by Danny Glascock, who’s powerful header went just over Piedmont’s crossbar. On 72 minutes, Mark Helfrich floated a fine sideline cross from near the corner flag into the box where the always flying high, Max Mirner met the ball with great heading technique to make it 4-1. (Shades of Christiano Ronaldo’s fine headed goal earlier in the day!) On 77 minutes Glascock had another heading opportunity and this time his powerful header found the net. A well driven corner kick by Stuart Lee went over Piedmont’s near post defenders,dipping at the far post where Glascock rose to bury his header for a 5-1 Don’s win.
Very well done Acalanes, in a game that saw every healthy Don’s player see minutes and contribute and where again, the Don’s stingy defense allowed very few chances to the opposition.
Next up, NCS Quarter finals against St. Mary’s, this Saturday, Feb 16, 7:00 PM at Acalanes.
Photos: David Lee
Barry Allan Lee * Man on the Beat