Hurricanes Stay Hot in Win over Devils

By Ryan
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass — Well, that didn't take long. 

It only took the Hoosac Valley boys' soccer team three days and two games to eclipse its win total from a year ago. After a 1-13-2 campaign last season, the Hurricanes capped off a stellar first week with a convincing 4-0 win at rival Drury on Thursday.

One game after scoring eight goals in its opener against Hampden Charter School of Science, the Hoosac offense kept the pedal to the metal by finding the back of the net three times in the first 11 minutes of the game. Junior Sean Ryan-Kut put the 'Canes on the board in a flash, finishing off a pass from senior Nick Ryan just 16 seconds into the game. Junior midfielder Shaun Knapp then collected two more goals over the next 10 minutes of play, first scoring off feed from sophomore David Haley in the seventh minute before netting an unassisted tally four minutes later. 

With Ryan-Kut up front and Knapp patrolling the midfield, first-year Hoosac coach Camilo Bermudez appears to have the weapons he needs to be effective in the middle of the field. So far, the two classmates have combined to score seven goals and collect three assists in only two outings. 

"We're trying out a new formation, which is new to this team, but it allows us to play pretty offensively," Bermudez said. "It's kind of balanced. It was a rough year for these guys last season, but I knew this was a rivalry game, and I think this team just really wants it this year."

Whether it's a change in formation or a change in attitude, there is certainly something different happening with the Hurricanes (2-0) this season. After playing the Blue Devils to a pair of ties in 2011, Hoosac had a pretty good handle on Thursday's match, outshooting the hosts 22-9 in the game. 

"I told them this is what we need to do," Bermudez said of his team's strong start on Thursday. "We're trying some new formations, and I think they were hesitant after our first scrimmage. But after the first two games, I think they're buying in. So far, we're 12 goals for and zero against. You can't really ask for a better start that that." 

To Drury's credit, the Devils responded nicely after falling behind 3-0 early in the game. After losing 10 seniors off of a team that finished second in the South Division last year, Greg Caproni's squad might have had a few first-game jitters they needed to shake off before it settled into the match.

"We lost 10 seniors from last year's team, so we know we have our work cut out for us this year," Caproni said. "This is a simple game. It's all about understanding who the first attacker is, the second attacker and the third attacker. If you can do that, you can identify your first defender, your second defender and your third defender. We struggled with that early on today but once we understand that, the game will get easier. 

"You can see we made improvements throughout the game. As long as we keep improving, regardless of the score, we'll go from there."

Led by some solid goaltending by junior Joseph Liporace, Drury played Hoosac even over the next 60 minutes until Ryan-Kut closed out the scoring with just over nine minutes left in the game. Haley saved a ball from going over the end line and passed in back into play. The ball eventually found the feet of Ryan-Kut, who tucked the ball past Liporace into the right side of the net. 

It was the only blemish on what was a stellar second half for Liporace, who made two key diving stops on his way to eight saves in the game. Liporace gave the home fans their biggest reason to cheer in the 52nd minute when he dove to his left to deny Knapp of a penalty-kick opportunity. Eleven minutes later, Liporace came off his line to force Ryan into a high shot that smacked off the crossbar. Liporace came up big again a few moments later, stopping a one-time shot by Ryan by diving to his right and snagging the rebound as several Hurricanes started to close in. 

"That save on the penalty kick was huge for Joe," Caproni said. "He really needed that. He hates letting his team down or his coach down. He gets down on himself sometimes, but he's a phenomanal kid and he works really hard. Hopefully, he can build on that."

With a 3-0 edge early in the game, Bermudez admitted that he dropped back to a 4-4-2 formation in an effort to protect the lead. That gave senior sweeper Mitch Graves all the help he needed to ensure Hoosac goalie Tom Galisa (six saves) earned his second shutout in as many games. 

The up-and-coming Hurricanes next face a huge test on Tuesday, when defending Berkshire County champions Mount Greylock comes to Cheshire for a 4 p.m. game. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, return to action on Saturday with an 11 a.m. home game against Mount Anthony. 
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