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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 17, 2009

Bulldogs win with heart and athleticism, not foot skills

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ soccer team isn’t the most talented team around, but its players might have the most character.

The Bulldogs hosted Sharon Springs on Monday and held on for a 1-to-0 win in a game that featured careless ball handling by both teams. The ball was in the air for half the game.

It was the first win on the season for BKW after losses to Duanesburg and Galway in Western Athletic Conference play.

“We haven’t been playing enough soccer to know what to do in key situations,” said Corbin Repscher, who scored the winning goal for the Bulldogs. “Hopefully, we’ll get to where we want to be as the days add up.”

Repscher gave BKW the only goal it needed with 17:48 left in the second half when he cleaned up a breakaway by teammate Jordan Gonyea. Co-captain Ryan LaBelle was yelling for Repscher to run up on the play.

“I was about to get a shot off, but someone got under me and we were all battling for the ball,” said Gonyea after the game. “Luckily, Repscher was there to knock it in.”

“We must have had close to six breakaways in this game,” Head Coach Jim Gillis said. “How many chances can we get? We need to use our athleticism better.”

The Bulldogs are relying on players who don’t participate in off-season soccer programs and who primarily play basketball and baseball for BKW.

“My roster is full of athletes, not true soccer players,” said Gillis. “Some of these guys play only 30 soccer games in their lives and that’s it. We work with what we have. But, these kids are big, strong, and fast. They’re definitely capable of playing soccer.”

Curtis Clark, Mike Galgay, LaBelle, Jacob Tambasco, Kevin Mason, Harry Tyndell, and Brandon Galgay all have a few years of varsity soccer under their belts. Gonyea, Brandon Kallner, Steve Yakel, and Repscher bring new fight to an already hungry team of Bulldogs.

“I feel like we have a quicker team this year and it could generate more chances,” Gillis said. “Plus, everyone is older and tougher. I have four kids up front that can run like the wind. Add a little more ball skills and that can translate to goals.”

BKW can also generate offense off humongous throws by LaBelle and Kallner. “Those two can really heave the ball,” said Gillis. “It’s almost like adding an extra corner kick.”

The Bulldogs did lose all-star goalie Greg Hannay, but newcomer Brett Flansburg made a couple at key saves in Monday’s game against Sharon Springs. He’s the cousin of all-star keeper Devin Bailey of Guilderland.

“Yeah, I guess Flansburg worked with Bailey over the summer to get ready,” Gillis said. “It’s his first year in net, but he’s looking good. We know he can catch because he plays baseball.”

For now, the Bulldogs are trying to win games with heart and passion for the game of soccer. How far can the team take it?

Coach Gillis says BKW might have a shot at a Western Athletic Conference title come October.

“Teams have won championships by playing hard-nosed soccer and I think we have a shot,” said Gillis. “We just need to learn to put the ball in the frame to give ourselves a better chance. These kids can go as far as their minds let them. We just need more goals.”

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