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Knights shower Saints with goals

October 17, 2004|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - For St. James boys soccer coach Chris Downs, playing Grace Academy seemingly always has been an experience complete with rain.

This time, the soggy playing conditions and intermittent showers didn't rain on the third-year coach's parade as much as Knights senior striker Jordan Hanft did.

Hanft scored two first-half goals - his 27th and 28th of the year - as Grace Academy (12-3) went on to win 4-0, spoiling the Saints' Parents Day on Saturday afternoon.

Hanft broke a scoreless tie, getting loose to the left of the Saints' net and banging in a low, hard shot past St. James goalkeeper Nate Venditta in the 20th minute. The goal came only moments after Venditta stonewalled the Knights from point-blank range and cleared the ball to the wing. The Saints (5-7-3), however, were unsuccessful in pushing the ball upfield and Hanft took control.

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The teams played relatively even until the 36th minute, when Hanft scored again, powering in a loose ball to the right from 30 yards.

"Jordan is an exceptional striker," Grace coach John Basore said. "No one in soccer circles heard much about him over the past three seasons because he played with Josh Barnhart (a former All-Area Offensive Player of the Year). But I think people are recognizing who he is now."

In the second half, the Knights made it 3-0 when A.J. Serafini converted a penalty kick after being knocked down hard in front of the Saints' goal. Grace scored its final goal on a looping shot by Dave Hardcastle.

Basore was quick to point out that Grace bases its strength on team speed and defensive skills.

"We simply beat (St. James) to the ball today," Basore said. "We were patient with our play and I think they got a little too impatient."

Basore also said moving senior Alex Layman back made a tremendous difference in the play of the defense.

"Alex played a great game back there," he said. "He was our sleeper today."

Grace goalie Andy Eyler had 11 saves for the shutout.

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