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Saint soak Knights with 'L'

October 11, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

ST. JAMES - The Grace Academy and St. James boys soccer teams are having contrasting seasons, for sure. When they met in the rain Thursday afternoon at St. James, they got contrasting results.

The Saints (4-8-1) - who had not won since Sept. 4 - dominated the ball, outshooting the visiting Knights (11-2-1) - who had not lost since Sept. 10 - 33-8 en rout to a 3-1 victory.

"We needed this win badly," said St. James coach Chris Downs. "We've been working hard and the guys haven't quit. We did what we had to do. We won the 50-50 balls and played physically."

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Yet, due in large part to standout defensive efforts from Knights sweeper Mark Derby and keeper Danny Carver (10 saves), the game was still up for grabs in the closing minutes, tied at 1-1.

But, with just over five minutes remaining, St. James finally vented some of its frustration. Working from the left side, midfielder Yusuke Haffeman-Udegawa crossed a pass to forward Jordan Ottley, who gunned it in from six yards out for a 2-1 Saints lead.

"It was a good play, a nice cross," said Ottley. "I got my contact on it.

"We needed to do something. It was getting pretty frustrating, because the field was wet and we couldn't get good touches. We had all those shots but time was running out and we needed to score."

Ottley put the game out of reach three minutes later, blasting an 18-yarder into the back of the net for his first multi-goal game.

"We were in a big-time slump, so we really needed this," said Ottley. "This is a big lift."

The teams took advantage of the wet conditions to build the 1-1 tie, both getting goals on hard grounders that slipped through the keepers' hands.

Dunmola Olanrewaju put one past Carver two minutes into the game to give St. James the early lead. And Grace forward Jared Barnhart tied it 10 minutes into the second half, sliding one through Saints keeper John Hoke (three saves).

But the Knights weren't able to turn Barnhart's goal into any real momentum.

"We didn't do a good job possessing the ball. I don't know if it was the weather or what," said Grace coach John Basore. "But they played well. They beat us to the ball."

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