PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Freshman Abraham Portillo scored a pair of goals, and the Taconic boys soccer team took a step forward with a 3-1 win over Drury on Wednesday at Berkshire Community College.
“Today's game was about a victory,” first-year coach Luke Chambers said. “I think it's been a long time since we got a victory. Being in this job a few weeks now, they're improving. They're getting better each game, each session.
“We go again on Saturday, and we keep seeing improvements.”
It was a bounce-back game for Taconic, which faced a big test its first time out, taking on perennial Berkshire County power Mount Greylock.
On Wednesday, Chambers’ side was able to control play most of the way. The only problem it had was finishing.
“I may have, like, 40 shots,” he said. “Our conversion rate has got to be better. Against better teams, we're probably not going to have those opportunities. We definitely need to be better in that area. But, again, I'll take the 3-1 win every time.”
Ezra Ezan did a lot of the work on the first goal, taking on a couple of defenders on the right side of the 18 to find some open space and center the ball to Portillo, who one-timed the ball into the far side of the goal with 26 minutes, 52 seconds left in the first half.
Three minutes later, Taconic senior Logan Armacost converted a direct free kick from about 30 yards out on the right wing to double his team’s lead.
“Both goals we gave up in the first half, I was disappointed with, because the first goal, I didn't think we marked,” Drury coach John Jacobbe said. “And the second goal, Kevin [Chen] is an excellent goalie, and he just mistimed a shot that I think he would get 99 out of 100 times. It was still a good shot.
“So we're down 2-0. We could have folded, but we kept it 2-0 at half. And our goal is to try to get a goal and give ourselves a chance, and we did that.”
Senior Caleb Besaw converted a chance from the top of the 18 about 10 minute into the second half, putting the ball off the post and into the goal to make it a one-goal game with 25 minutes to play.
“I said at the mask break, it was still 2-1, so with 16 minutes left, we still had a chance. And I said, 'Kevin, we're going to need a big save, and someone is going to have to score a spectacular goal,' “ Jacobbe said. “Kevin had the big save -- right off the mask break, they had a breakaway. And then they found a way to get the third goal.”
In the 62nd minute, Taconic’s Carthy Milondo made a nifty pass inside the 18 to Portillo, who finished to re-establish Taconic’s two-goal cushion.
“It's a step in the right direction,” Jacobbe said of his young team, which boasts four seventh-graders on a 12-man roster. “Taconic is a little bit better than us right now, but we at least competed with them.
“Hopefully, our numbers can recover, and [the younger players] can get a little time as JV players, but being thrown right into the fire isn't going to hurt them in the long run. We've got four seventh-graders getting experience, and the seniors get a senior year that we wouldn't have had.”
But Jacobbe is not focused on next year just yet. Two games into the regular season, he is hopeful the Blue Devils will continue to improve and build toward the county playoffs at the end of the month.
Taconic also will be looking to make a run at that South Division title. Tuesday’s performance might be a step in that direction.
“They've got raw talent,” Chambers said. “It's my job to bring it out of them, individually and as a team. In the game, you could see a lot of things we did well and some things that we kind of went individually, which let us down.
“But, confidence-wise, it was to get the win today. It's nice to win a game.”