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Bulldogs open boys soccer season with a bang

August 26, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - Martinsburg wasted little time kicking the 2002 boys soccer season off on the right foot - thanks in large part to the right foot of Chad Crosbie.

The senior midfielder tallied his first career hat trick, as the Bulldogs scored early and often on their way to a 7-0 win over host Musselman in the Apple Valley League teams' season opener Friday evening.

"We played the way we like to play," said Crosbie. "We played as a team. Everyone was talking and helping out."

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Senior midfielder Jaisal Pragnani put Martinsburg up to stay with the game's first goal four minutes into the opening period. Then just like that - three minutes later - the Bulldogs were up 3-0, as Crosbie found the back of the net twice in an 11-second span.

"Crosbie's a well-skilled, talented player," said Martinsburg coach Jason DeBaugh. "He stepped up the play, but being a senior captain you expect that from him."

The Bulldogs rounded out the rest of the scoring in the first half, getting another goal from Crosbie and one each from Adam Polinik and Nick Benavides. From there, Martinsburg, which outshot the Applemen 12-0 in the first half and 13-1 for the game, shut down its attack and switched focus.

"Coach told us to stop scoring," Crosbie said, "and just to work on our passing and talking and the things we need to do for the next game."

"Fifty out of the 80 minutes we just played possession," said DeBaugh. "I cut them off. I didn't even want them to score the seventh goal. I don't like to run it up. That doesn't help either team."

Bulldog senior goalie Aaron Smith recorded one save for the shutout, while Musselman freshman keeper Jamie Kees racked up six saves in the loss.

And Kees wasn't the only Applemen ninth-grader getting his first taste of the varsity limelight. Musselman, which doesn't have a junior varsity team this season, has nine freshmen on its 17-player roster and just three seniors, compared to the nine seniors and no freshmen on the 16-man Martinsburg squad.

All things considered, Musselman coach Gino Marchese wasn't overly disappointed with his team's season opener.

"There were a lot of unknowns," said Marchese. "We didn't even have a chance to scrimmage. We were just looking for a starting point so we know where to go from here. And believe it or not, I saw some positives. We were trying to pass the ball and maintain possession, what little we had our feet on it.

"We're very young and we have a tough schedule. It's going to be a tough on us all year and we know that."

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs, who went 11-4-4 last year and advanced to the Region II semifinals, are looking to build on last fall's success.

"We lost five starters," Crosbie said, "but this year we're just as good, if not better."

"I'm very pleased right now, of course," said DeBaugh. "The guys go out and do the job and have confidence."

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