Hoosac, Taconic Boys Play to Scoreless Tie
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- After three ties in five games to start the season, you might think Hoosac Valley High School boys soccer coach Camilo Bermudez would be getting a little tired of all the stalemates.
But he had no complaints after a 0-0 draw against Taconic on Friday afternoon.
"Under the circumstances, in a division game, we get the point on the road, in the cold, and this is a tough place to play," Bermudez said. "I think the guys are going to be down on themselves, but realistically -- from my standpoint -- it's a result in my mind.
"And this could have been a lot worse considering the circumstances."
The circumstance in question? A Wednesday practice injury to Hoosac's leading scorer and captain Khalil Kareh.
Without the 5-foot-11 center midfielder in the lineup the Hurricanes (1-1-3), Bermudez was forced to several of his players out of position.
"It was basically like starting from scratch," he said. "We had to move a left back into the center mid. An eighth-grader had to play the full 90 minutes at center attack. [Forward] David Haley was forced to play on the outside.
"That's why I told those guys: a 0-0 game in a game like that? I'll take it. And not only that, we had a chance to take the game."
After a second half that saw homestanding Taconic (1-4-2) carry the play, the hosts earned a corner kick with just more than two minutes left oto play. Hoosac's defense disrupted the play in the 18-yard box, and the entry sailed harmlessly out to the wing, where the Hurricanes were able to clear.
Moments later, Hoosac earned a free kick about 25 yards from the Taconic goal, and Matt Carlow ended up earning a shot deep in the 18 that goalkeeper Kevin Squires turned aside for one of his six saves.
"Any other game, we would have given up a goal on a corner kick like the one down there," Bermudez said. "Against Mount Everett, we gave up a corner kick in the 78th minute. Against Drury [the Blue Devils scored on a corner with 35 seconds left].
"So I think it's strides in the right direction."
Hoosac had a few other chances to take a lead, but Squires was equal to the challenge each time. Perhaps the 'Canes best chance came with about 14 minutes left in the first half on a free kick from just outside the 18 on the left wing. Steve Crouch's try was on target, but Squires made a leaping save to tap the ball over the crossbar.
At the other end of the field, Colby Ells faced his share of shots as well, especially in the second half when Taconic generated six of its 10 shots on goal.
"I was very pleased with the second half," Taconic coach Mark Wasnewsky said. "I told the guys, in the first half, I thought both teams were basically playing the same game. We played a lot between the 18s, not a lot of good touches on the ball. It was kind of sloppy.
"Then I thought we came out with a very good effort in the second half. We started spreading it wide on the attack more. We generate a lot more opportunities that way. Unfortunately, we weren't able to capitalize on any of them, but sometimes that's the way the game goes."
Hoosac's best opportunities in the second half came on counter attacks when it attempted to get the ball down the field for a streaking Dante Sandifer. But Taconic's David Benie did a good job marking Sandifer and limiting his chances.
"[Sandifer] is a speedy forward, so you've got to always be aware of that," Wasnewsky said. "A lot of teams play that game, so once we recognized that, David's a very quick player, too, and that's why he's back there.
"He's a safety valve."
Taconic travels to Great Barrington to take on Monument Mountain on Monday.
Hoosac travels to Lee on Tuesday. Bermudez said Kareh is "50/50" play against the Wildcats.
Photos from this game here.