Lancaster High School boys soccer coach said junior Logan Menna has the skills to be as good as anyone around. He showed why on Wednesday afternoon.
Menna made 15 saves, including some tough ones in the overtimes, and the Legends salvaged a 1-1 tie against undefeated Niagara Wheatfield in an entertaining non-league game in Lancaster.
“He really stood on his head and made some great saves,” NW coach John Coulter said.
The Falcons, who entered the game with a perfect record against a tough schedule, looked unbeatable early and struck first in the 15th minute with a goal by eighth-grade sensation Noah Morelli, his sixth of the year.
But the Legends battled back and tied it up with a little less than 25 minutes left in regulation on a goal by junior Nick Loewer, who joined Grand Island’s Melendez Sebastian as the only players to score against Wheatfield this season.
Lancaster kept coming after the goal and hit a crossbar with 15 minutes left but couldn’t get another one.
“The first 20 minutes, it was a rough start,” Luciano said. “But after that we got our legs going and our emotions going. We tied it and we had some chances to take the lead and they had some great chances to come up big but our goalie came up big.”
He sure did, especially late in overtime. Menna made two big stops on Falcons star Jake Vellas and another big one on senior Andrew Ramballi.
“I was calm, actually,” Menna said. “I was good. It was a crazy game. Everybody’s making plays all over and we really wanted to do all we could to win this game.”
It was a non-league game between teams without a whole lot of history against each other. But as things progressed, it had the feeling of a postseason game.
“You just saw 100 minutes of soccer that was just two good teams going at it,” Coulter said. “I’ll take a game like this any day. We’d have liked to come out of here with a win but Lancaster’s a good team. We played a tough game.”
And for the Legends (6-4-1 overall, 6-2 ECIC I), it was confirmation that they can compete with the best. And in ECIC I, that’s Clarence. In the teams’ first meeting, the Red Devils rolled to a 3-0 win on Sept. 12. Clarence visits Lancaster on Oct. 7 and one of Western New York’s top soccer rivalries promises to produce another good one.
“The team we just played is just as good, if not better than Clarence,” Luciano said. “So if we can play the way we’re capable of playing, we’ll be fine. We have a team that has all the talent in the world and I keep talking about heart and passion and today they brought it.”
Wheatfield moved to 8-0-1 on the season and remains 8-0 in the Niagara Frontier League. The Falcons will look to get back into the win column on Saturday against an always good Lockport team – and they know they have some work to do to keep that zero in the loss column.
“Their goalie played great but we can also do a better job on our finishing,” Coulter said. “We know what we have to work on before Saturday.”
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