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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 23, 2010

Blackbirds rolling, record back-to-back six goal shutouts

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– The Blackbirds’ soccer team scored 12 goals in its last two games and surrendered zero. The defending Class CC champs seem to be clicking on all cylinders once again.

The explosion of offense for Voorheesville came after a shaky start to the season. The Birds needed overtime to beat Hudson, lost to Lansingburgh at home, and tied Colonial Council newcomers Ichabod Crane. Voorheesville scored five goals altogether in those three games.

“We’re looking a lot better now,” said senior Joe Cillis, who scored two goals in a 6-to- 0 win at home against Ravena on Friday. He followed that up with two more goals at Fonda-Fultonville on Tuesday in another 6-to-0 victory.

“The chemistry is starting to come together on the field,” Cillis said on Friday. “Our heads are focused.”

Head Coach Willie Sanchez said that the Blackbirds faced some “adversity” in the first few games. The team played well, but couldn’t finish against Lansingburgh and it had never faced Ichabod Crane before.

“We like to be challenged,” Sanchez said. “We just have to look for positive results.”

“I think the Lansingburgh game was a wake-up call,” Cillis said. “It taught us to come out better prepared.”

Goals at large

On Friday, Voorheesville played a Ravena team that was determined to keep the other team out of the nets. That plan worked for the first 20 minutes, but the Birds could only attack so many times without scoring.

Voorheesville broke through in the 22nd minute when Cillis passed the ball to David Suozzo, whose shot rebounded off keeper Tyler Thompson, only to land right at the feet of Evan Campana for the finish. Cillis made it 2 to 0 after he beat two defenders and the goalie with a high shot.

The Blackbirds continued to dominate possession in the second half, but the score remained 2 to 0. “Everyone got a boost of confidence today,” said Sanchez. “Everyone got a chance.”

In a strange turn of events with about 15 minutes to play, the referee ejected Sanchez from the game for what he later termed “disrespectful comments that are out of line for a coach.” The scorekeepers on the sideline wouldn’t repeat what Sanchez said, but asserted, “It wasn’t worthy of a red card.”

“When it becomes personal,” said the referee, “then I have the right to make the call.”

“It’s his decision,” Sanchez said after the game. “Hopefully, the kids will learn from it.”

The ejection of Voorheesville’s coach seemed to light a fire under the players, who scored four goals in the final 11 minutes. Cillis made it 3 to 0 after receiving a head-ball pass from Kevin Clark and dribbling by Thompson for the goal.

Clark put a low shot in while sliding from 18 yards out, and Blake Fenner scored on a strike. Finally, Campana got his second goal of the day on a diving header set up by a beautiful cross from Clark.

“We have a lot of guys that play soccer over the entire year,” said Sanchez. “They really enjoy the game.”

On Tuesday, in the win over Fonda, the Birds shot the ball on goal 36 times. If it weren’t for Cody Kietzmann in goal for Fonda, the game would have been completely out of control. Cillis scored two, and Clark, Suozzo, Chris Dimmitt, and Hayden Wood each had one goal.

Voorheesville is 2-1-1 in the Colonial Council Division I as it heads into a home game against Cobleskill today at 4:30 p.m. on its home field. The Birds travel to Mechanicville on Saturday and get Cohoes at home next Wednesday.

“It’s easy to come in and hit the ground running,” Sanchez said. “We’re always getting better with each game.”

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