Checkmate: Warriors capture win from Bishop Manogue
Everyone was expecting the flip throw.
But Chris Boudreau had other plans. The senior, known for his acrobatic soccer entrances – he does an entire flip throw-in to a start sideline play – simply dumped it to a waiting teammate.
It was a simple way to ignite the winning goal combination, as the Whittell High boys soccer team beat Manogue, 3-2, on Wednesday afternoon in Zephyr Cove.
“I was going to do the flip, but I saw Kyle (Spignola) was wide open so I gave the short pass to him. He dropped it right back to me, I crossed it and Todd (Echan) had a nice finish,” said Boudreau, who has perfected the flip throw-in. “I started doing it my sophomore year. It’s really a basic thing. If you’ve got a little gymnastics background, it’s not hard to do. It puts a nice loft on the ball. And the crowd loves it.”
With under four minutes remaining in a 2-2 contest, Boudreau lobbed it to winger Spignola, who, noticing he was covered, quickly tapped it back to Boudreau in the left corner. The senior gathered it and lofted a curving kick to the center, where Echan was lurking. There, the senior spotted an opening and went full speed with his head, knocking the ball into the goal for the eventual game-winner.
“He was going to do the regular flip because he can get it across the field when he needs to. But the defense was pushed all the way back. (The short throw in) drew the defense out and left me open,” Echan said. “You have to go all out, fight for it and put it in the back of the net. That’s what I did. It was a very satisfying win.”
Whittell (2-1 in league play) needed the victory over a 3A rival to build confidence, according to coach Steve Maltase.
“We felt like we dominated the first half and ended up being down, 2-1. Our guys were intense at halftime and realized they were a better team,” he said. “We don’t want to give up anything on our home field. We haven’t lost here this year and don’t plan on it.”
But the coach was quick to point out that with a total of eight league games remaining between the Warriors and a state-tournament berth, the focus must remain constant every time his team steps on the field.
“It’s going to be a three-team race, with Incline, Manogue and us battling for two playoff spots. Every game is 10 percent of the season and is just as equal as another one. None is more important than another. If we lose to a team that we’re not supposed to, we’ll be right back where we started from,” Maltase said.
Senior Dusty Apocotos tallied Whittell’s two other goals. The senior nailed a free kick to put the Warriors up 1-0 early. Then, after the Miners’ Mike Elcano netted a pair within one minute of each other to give his team a 2-1 halftime lead, Apocotos evened things midway through the second half on a penalty kick. Having been flattened in the box by a Manogue defender, Apocotos calmly left-footed the equalizer past the frozen Manogue keeper.
“They have a couple of all-state quality players and they were able to work. Anytime a player who has that type of skill is allowed to work, they’re going to create problems,” said Manogue coach Eric Statt, whose team fell to 5-5, 1-1 in league.
The Warriors defense is worthy of credit, according to Maltase, who saw Echan, as well as keeper Joe Piccola, stifle about six solid second-half scoring chances for the Miners.
Whittell next hosts Yerington at Noon on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Whittell girls team downed Manogue, 3-0, on Tuesday at Zephyr Cove Park.
Courtney Benvenuto assisted Caitlin Fagan and Corky Novotny in the first half, as the Warriors (2-0-1 league) posted a 2-0 halftime lead. Novotny added an unassisted goal in the final 40 minutes.
“We played a good solid first half and then maintained after coming out flat in the second half. Our defense kept us in it,” said Whittell coach Mike Leeper.
Whittell hosts Yerington at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
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