A soccer game that was intense from start to finish, the Lancaster Legends came into enemy territory and walked away victorious over the Orchard Park Quakers 3-2.
“I think the boys showed a lot of character. It was a physical game, the boys held their composure and continued to play soccer the way that we coach soccer,” said Luciano Gallo, head coach for Lancaster boys’ varsity soccer.
Since losing to Lancaster in the 2019 Class AA Finals, Orchard Park had been looking forward to get a win against their rivals. They both played on Oct. 3, but the Legends won 1-0 on a late goal in the 84th minute.
Once the game started it was an aggressive style of play from both squads, each team provided themselves opportunities to put one in the back of the net. The clock then stopped at 20:05 for a mask break.
Almost two minutes after the break, senior midfielder Bryan Kohl bended his shot off a free kick. The ball landed in the bottom left side of the net for his third goal of the season and giving Lancaster the 1-0 lead.
The Legends would extend their lead to two. Senior forward Joshua Marinacccio scored with a little over a minute after Kohl’s goal. Marinaccio would get his shot off a deflection from a Quaker defender and landed in the back of the net.
Orchard Park would apply pressure towards the end of the first half in attempt to cut the lead. Legends senior goalkeeper Logan Menna made an incredible save with eight minutes remaining; Quakers senior forward Luke Sapio blasted one on Menna’s left side and he dove to keep the lead 2-0.
“He’s our glue back there,” said Gallo. “We rely on him, we try not to give up that many shots but when the shots are there and we give them up, we rely on him to come up big and most of the time he comes up big for our team.”
With a little over two minutes left Sapio would get his chance. He created separation from Lancaster’s last line of defense and scored on a breakaway. Sapio put his shot past Menna for his second goal on the year, helping Orchard Park go into the half down 2-1.
The Quakers would continue to get chances to tie the game; Sapio had a direct kick with 24 minutes left and his shot would get deflected for a corner kick. Couple of minutes later, junior midfielder Max Ford tried to get his first goal of the season, but his shot would go wide left.
A second-half mask break stopped the clock at 19:16. With exactly six minutes later, a quick give and go by junior forward Antonio Pellegrino set up teammate and sophomore forward Tyler Kohl for a breakaway. He put one past Quakers senior goalkeeper Alex Ryczek to give Lancaster a 3-1 lead.
It started to slip away a bit from Orchard Park but they continued to grind. Junior forward Christian Abbatessa would score with 24 seconds left in the game, providing Orchard Park a shot. Once the whistle was blown to resume play Lancaster controlled the ball during the remaining seconds and got the win.
Lancaster moves to 5-3-1 on the season and 5-1-1 in ECIC Division 1. Their next opponent will be Friday night against the Frontier Falcons.
“I had a long talk with the boys after the St. Francis game. If they trust one another and they share the ball, the way the game is meant to be played, each one of them will achieve individual success instead of one or two guys getting success,” said Gallo.
Orchard Park moves to 3-5-1 on the year and 2-4 in conference play. They will have almost a week off and will face the Clarence Red Devils next Tuesday, Oct. 27.
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