BY JEFF FALK
PALMYRA – You can’t score goals unless you can first connect passes. You can’t connect passes unless you can first possess the ball.
And you can’t possess the ball if you don’t have it.
But offense was only half of the Palmyra boys’ soccer team’s problems last night.
On Saturday evening at In The Net Sports Complex, the Cougars experienced difficulties playing to feet and getting their feet on balls, during a 4-1 loss to Central Dauphin East. With the Panthers controlling the midfield, Palmyra didn’t register a shot on goal for the game’s opening 26:20, before falling into a 3-0 hole.
The undesirable result meant Palmyra finished its four-game week at 1-2-1. It was an especially stinging setback for a Cougar club clawing to qualify for the District Three Class AAA postseason.
The outcome dropped Palmyra to 4-5-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. C.D. East moved to 6-2 on the fall and 4-2 in the circuit.
“It was a long week,” said Palmyra head coach Andrew Hull. “It was our fourth game and we just came out sluggish. We came out slow and it showed. They (the Panthers) got the first goal from buzzing. Once we got punched in the face, we turned it on, like we usually do. We got one back. But it was an up-hill battle from the first minute in.
“It’s (the four-game week) hard to manage for some of these kids,” continued Hull. “Two of our past three games went to overtime, and another game was at Elco. It takes a toll on the body. I think them (the Panthers) possessing the ball comes back to being flat and not being hungry.”
C.D. East set the tone for the entire match by scoring on its first shot, 1:01 into it. Senior forward Adam Chabaoui picked up a loose ball in the midfield and chipped a 25-yard right-footer over the head of Cougar keeper Tanner Yaw for a 1-0 advantage.
“It kind of took the wind out of our sails,” said Hull. “The kid placed it perfectly. It just kind of shocked us.
“We play in the best conference,” added Hull. “And teams like C.D. East are always deadly.”
A mere 5:34 into the second half, the Panthers doubled their lead. Anthony Calamia played a long ball to the right post, and after running on to it, Chabaoui slid a shot from an impossible angle that beat Yaw to the near post.
It became 3-0 C.D. East in the game’s 59th minute. Calamia did a good job of using his quick feet to reach a Mena Rezkalla feed ahead of Yaw and a Cougar defender in the middle of the box, before depositing the goal in the bank.
“Early on, we played poor defensively,” said Hull. “But as the game went on, I thought we did better. We had to put a freshman at center back. He did well, he just doesn’t have the experience or the size.
“This was important because we had just gotten back to 4-4-1,” Hull continued. “Things were running in the right direction. We were hoping to be above .500 moving into next week.”
Palmyra finally got on the scoreboard with 12:55 remaining, and at the time, it seemed to inject hope into the home side.
Junior forward Sean Bordner was awarded a penalty kick, after the Panthers were whistled for a foul in the box. Bordner was initially stoned by diving C.D. East keeper Sean Orlando, but Bordner stuck with the play and slid the rebound into the right side of the net.
“We’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities,” said Hull. “You can’t score by possession. You’ve got to put points on the board. You’ve got to put balls in the back of the net. We’ve got fantastic goal keeping, now we’ve got to balance it out with goals. That’s my opinion.
“Yeah, it’s (goal scoring) definitely a concern,” Hull added. “I’m looking for people to step up. It’s a call to everyone on the team, to put balls in the back of the net.”
C.D. East netted its final goal with 5:16 remaining. Chabaoui took one touch on a Calamia through ball, before knocking it home.
“Certainly not as great as we would’ve hoped, but not awful,” said Hull of his Cougars through ten games. “There’s hope with everything we do. It’s (getting to districts) going to be an uphill battle. If we want to make districts, we’ve got to win at least three more. It’s definitely doable.”
Outside of Bordner’s two PK-generated shots, the Cougars managed only two others during the rest of the game, and they were not awarded a corner kick. C.D. East, on the other hand, made judicious use of its ten shots.
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Keystone Division Standings
2015 Palmyra Boys’ Soccer Schedule
|10:30 AM||W 7-0|
|2:30 PM||L 0-1|
|7:00 PM||L 0-2|
|4:00 PM||W 3-1|
|6:00 PM||W 8-1|
|6:30 PM||L 2-3|
|7:00 PM||L 1-2|
|6:30 PM||W 2-1|
|6:30 PM||T 1-1|
|5:30 PM||L 1-4|
|6:30 PM||In The Net Sports Complex, Palmyra|
|3:45 PM||Hershey High School|
|3:45 PM||In The Net Sports Complex, Palmyra|
|6:30 PM||Northside Elementary School, Mechanicsburg|
|4:00 PM||Susquehanna Twp. Middle School|
|6:30 PM||In The Net Sports Complex, Palmyra|
|3:45 PM||CD East High School|