Knights show improvement in soccer loss

Published Sep 13, 2017 at 4:10pm

Coming off of a week without a game, the Rome Free Academy boys soccer team had plenty of time to think about its 4-0 loss to Whitesboro on Sept. 5.

Even though the Black Knights fell 3-1 to Tri-Valley League foe New Hartford, head coach Chad Reese was pleased with the way his team responded on Tuesday afternoon at RFA Stadium.

“I think that we just got some unfortunate bounces today,” Reese said.

“We hit four or five posts in the first half. But I thought we had much better play than we did last Tuesday, and overall I’m pleased with that.”

RFA, 1-2, doesn’t take the field again until next Tuesday when it hosts Vernon-Verona-Sherrill at the Stadium at 4:15 in another TVL contest.

The Black Knights came out aggressive, taking the first few shots of the game.

New Hartford then controlled the ball in its half of the field before Alex Chiffy ripped a shot on goal with 28:42 remaining in the first half that RFA goalie Michael Haag came out to save.

One of Rome’s best chances came at the 27:12 mark of the first half after Zach Wilbert crossed the ball to Giovanni Gualtieri who’s header went high which kept the game at a 0-0 tie. Gualtieri did not stop pestering the Spartans defense however.

New Hartford’s Nick Lemire notched his first of two goals at the 16:12 mark of the first half, then Nic Manno added another Spartan’s goal just over two minutes later at the 13:45 mark to give New Hartford a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.

Gualtieri found the back of the net less than two minutes into the second half after he took a pass from Wilbert and put the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-1. With 29 minutes left, Wilbert had a shot on goal that went wide, which would be the Black Knights’ last chance.

“I told the boys at halftime that there’s games where you outplay a team and you’re on the other end of the scoreboard and tonight I think that was the truth,” Reese said.

“I felt that we were the better team. We just have to sharpen up in our box and if we do that and play like we did tonight, I think that we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

Lemire added his second goal of the game and to put the game out of reach with 19:26 to go. Lemire’s goal was set up by a free kick taken by Matt Chiffy, who was credited with the assist.

New Hartford head coach Jill Davies-Nelson was glad to get the win, especially considering it was the Spartans’ fourth game in less than a week.

“For us, going into today, we’re pretty beat up. We were pretty tired,” Davies-Nelson said. “We played Thursday, Saturday and Sunday down in Oneonta. Right now, we’re physically fatigued, and I thought our ball handling skills were off, and we were flat.

“But overall, I’m happy with the win.”

Reese said the Black Knights still have plenty of time to get on track.

“It’s still early,” Reese said. “We’re only three games in, and we have 13 more to go. Right now, I think it was a character game, and I’m very pleased that the boys came out and showed a lot of heart and battled.

“We got another week to build.”