Falcons Use 3 First Half Goals to Seal 10th Win
The Niagara Wheatfield Falcons boys soccer team has started the season strong as the No. 2 ranked team in Class A of New York state. Wednesday night, NW continued its stellar season with a 3-0 victory over North Tonawanda.
The game was also a rescheduled date, due to Tuesday’s inclement weather.
The Falcons scored three first half goals to essentially seal the game early.
Senior Joe Timbello netted his second goal of the season just shortly after the first whistle. Timbello took advantage of a loose ball and netted Wheatfield’s first goal 2:02 into the game.
Just under six minutes later, Jake Vallas dished a spectacular head pass to John Osetkowski for the Falcons’ second goal of the night. The goal came at the 12:28 mark and made it 2-0 NW. For the senior midfielder Osetkowski, it was his second of the season.
North Tonawanda’s first real chance came just under the 17-minute mark, as the Jacks’ Tyler MacNeil sent a shot on net, but Wheatfield keeper Josh Morelli made the save. Morelli would make another crucial save off a corner kick later in the half around the 34-minute mark.
The third NW goal came at the 28:28 mark, as freshman AJ Zarcone took advantage of an intercepted pass from the NT keeper and boomed it from long range into the net. The goal was Zarcone’s third of the season.
The Falcons went into half leading 3-0, in addition to the shots on goal battle, 7-4.
In the second half, the game was played steadily by the defenses.
NT had two chances from Pedro Lopes, but one kick went over the net, while another was saved by Morelli.
NW’s best chance came as Vallas was awarded a penalty kick around the 19-minute mark due to a hand ball on a corner. Vallas’ attempt rolled wide though, keeping the score 3-0.
The Falcons were able to seal the deal for their 10th victory of the season, and on a fall-like night in October, NW defeated North Tonawanda, 3-0.
The game was a hyped up battle between two rivals, and NW Coach John Coulter said it felt good to come out on top.
“It’s great. I feel like we finally returned back to form. We had a couple games where we didn’t play our best, and tonight I think we brought it,” Coulter said.
For NT, the loss is in somewhat similar fashion to their first battle versus Wheatfield. In the opening match of the series, the Falcons scored two goals in the first three minutes of the second half, within 1:20 of each other. Fast forward to Wednesday night, the Falcons were up by two quickly in the early goings.
“It’s never easy,” NT Coach Rob Brocklehurst said of his team’s early deficit. “Fortunately for us, we’ve been down 3-0. Against Kenmore East, we were down 3-0 and we responded instantly. That was a tough game that we learned from and ended it 3-2. But digging yourself out of a whole, especially early on, against one of the teams we recognize as the elite talents of Western New York, is not easy. We were able to game plan a little at halftime, unfortunately we took some injuries and were scraping the bench.”
Of the quick start, Coulter said that’s part of the team’s mission every game.
“That’s always our goal – get a goal in the first five minutes is always what we set out to do and it just makes the rest of the game that much easier,” Coulter said.
Brocklehurst was quick to point out, despite the defeat, the team has a lot to gain from playing NW.
“It doesn’t have to be a loss, as long as we learn from it,” Brocklehurst said. “We got Niagara Falls (next), an opponent we’ve done very well against. … We’re banged up right now. We got a bench of guys that are working hard and eager to play, so hopefully we can have some of those guys step up and get right back on track.”
North Tonawanda didn’t make life easy for the Falcons though, and Coulter said the team is getting every team’s best effort this season due to their successful start.
“It’s great. It’s what’s gonna get us better. We don’t want teams to just fall apart for us. We want to play tough games. You know, we had a tough one with Lancaster, a tough one with Lockport and a tough one tonight with NT. That’s what’s going to prepare us for those long runs in sectionals,” Coulter said.
He added that the unbeaten start to the season has been a thrill and he’s excited for the kids on the team, including those he’s coached for four years who he’s seen “come into their roles as seniors and it’s a blast.”
And, of course, playing the No. 2 team in the state is no easy task. Brocklehurst praised the way the Falcons play on the pitch.
“They’re phenomenal,” he said. “The looks we were able to get on their goalkeeper tonight – he’s just so sure footed, confident with his hands and he’s really kind of the maestro from the backfield. He’s got a good field vision and can really, with minimum work, kind of direct his team to put the score on the board. But they’re big, they’re physical, they have a senior back line. It’s just experience, and all the respect to Coulter and his boys for coming out here and proving who the better team is this season.”
In net, Morelli made seven saves, while Cameron Raines made 8 stops for the Jacks.
North Tonawanda’s next matchup is at 4:45 p.m. Friday at Niagara Falls. For the Falcons, their next battle is at 5 p.m. Friday versus Lafayette Academy.