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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 5, 2009

Bulldogs played really hard, didn’t have very much luck

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– Every team needs a little luck to be successful. The Berne-Knox-Westerlo soccer team didn’t get the luck it needed in 2009.

The Bulldogs finished the season with a 7-10-1 record after a 3-to-0 loss at Waterford on Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the Class C playoffs. BKW got to play the top- seeded Fordians after beating Hadley-Luzerne, 2-1, in the first round last Thursday.

The Bulldogs play in a very competitive Western Athletic Conference during the regular season.

“The league was very balanced this year and we were in a lot of games,” said Head Coach Jim Gillis on Friday. “We just weren’t lucky and we struggled scoring.”

BKW hit the net only 20 times and senior Ryan LaBelle was the leading scorer with five goals. However, the defense gave up only four scores in the last six games before Saturday.

“I think we got the most out of our ability, even though we lost games that we should of won,” Gillis said on Tuesday. “Sometimes, you just don’t know what the outcome will be. We played well under the circumstances.”

Gillis told The Enterprise that he was very impressed with the play of rookie junior goalie Brett Flansburg after having the job of replacing standout Greg Hannay. “There was immense pressure on our defense this year and Flansburg came up big,” said Gillis. “It’s impressive because he never played in goal before.”

Last Thursday, Curtis Clark scored a goal one minute and 15 seconds into the match off an assist from Jordan Gonyea to give the Bulldogs an early lead. LaBelle netted the game-winner midway through the second half when Clark found him open in the box.

“We got off to a good start and beat them to the ball all game,” Gillis said on Friday. “Seniors never want the season to end. They want to keep that shirt on as long as possible.”

It was the final game for seniors Clark, LaBelle, Mike Galgay, Gonyea, Kevin Mason, Jacob Tambasco, and Harry Tyndell on Saturday after running into a talented Waterford team.

“Waterford got to the end lines and were able to dump balls in,” said Gillis on Tuesday. “Their forwards were attacking our defense all day long. But, we were able to play with them.”

The Fordians scored three minutes into the windy game off a slamming shot by Chris Hunt. Zac Lennon made a play in the box two minutes into the second half to give Waterford a 2-to-0 lead. Dylan Carlton made a low shot past Flansburg to clinch the game for Waterford.

“Holding the top seed to one goal at halftime is pretty good for us as a nine seed,” Gillis said. “We just weren’t creative with the ball and we haven’t been all season.”

Most of the seniors for the Bulldogs were three-year players for Gillis and he’s watched them grow over time. “They all worked extremely hard for me,” he said. “You can see how much heart they have when you watch them play.”

BKW didn’t have a boys’ junior varsity team this year, so it will be interesting to see what players join the varsity team in 2010. The modified team only lost one game this year.

“We get most of the defense and Flansburg back, but the midfield is cleaned out,” said Gillis. “We have young kids coming up and some might have to get on-the-job varsity soccer training.”

BKW is stuck in a small-school scenario where soccer players also do other sports like basketball or baseball. Most of the team stays away from soccer in the off-season.

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“Even though I would like my players to play soccer in the off months, I can’t force them to,” Gillis said. “A lot of these guys would choose other sports over soccer, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy playing. We use the athletes that we have. We have some new guys coming up and hopefully they love soccer as much as I do.”