Soccer - Varsity Boys
Greenville, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer endure nail-biting thriller Penalty Shootout to win on the road at Shannon Forest in crucial region matchup.
Spartanburg Day School Griffins boys soccer team a year ago, missed out on a spot in the playoff when they dropped a last-minute heart-breaker at Shannon Forest. In the group huddle before kickoff, Coach Reyes reminded the team of that experience and challenged the team to dig deep and put everything on the line. Shannon Forest’s team, who had already fallen to the Griffins a few weeks ago were out for blood. Who knew how this script would unfold?
From the first whistle, SF had the Griffins on the backfoot, using their pace and aggression all over the pitch, Griffins appeared to be a step late on almost every play. Two early shots by SF indicated that the game could get out of hand early, however, the Griffins back line of Mitchell, Kusher, Henderson and Foust, along with goalkeeper Stramecky seemed optimistically cautious as they settled into the game. In the midfield and attacking end however, the Griffins had very little to offer.
Approximately 20 minutes in, after a few misses and saves, a SF shot cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and they were unlucky to not grab the lead. Minutes later though, SF was awarded a freekick which was positioned at least 35 yards away from the Griffins goal. SF midfielder #14, took the kick and flighted a high ball at goal which was misjudged by an on-rushing Griffins goalkeeper and sailed into the open net to give SF a 1-0 lead which they held onto for the remainder of the first half.
In what appears to be typical fashion for the Griffins’ coaching staff, an intense discussion on how to approach the second half ensued. Coach Reyes called the team into the huddle and again produced a reshuffled formation, with very firm and specific instructions to individual players and the team in general. Griffins entered the second half poised, focused and ready for action. With Chandler Lindsay and Damian Player paired up on the front line, the Griffins’ attack began to come alive. Lindsey began to combine with Anthony Ramirez from midfield as they looked to unlock the stern SF defense. Several minutes into the half, Griffins were awarded a corner kick which was taken by Ian Kusher, Will Henderson rose above the crowded penalty area with a fine header which was on target but was well saved by the SF goalkeeper. At the 30:00minute mark, with the Griffins’ attack finding their rhythm, they earned another corner kick on the left side of the field. Again, Kusher stepped up and served a brilliant ball to the back post where a high-rising Quinn Hedges headed in to tie the game at 1-1.
Griffins attack in high gear and the defensive play by Henderson et al stifling any semblance of the SF attack, pushed the momentum in the Griffins’ favor. Rett Foust and Cole Sanchez added both attacking and defending support on the flanks, while Ramirez, Beason and Birney worked tirelessly to shore up control of the central midfield areas. Momentum shifts, and surges found both teams going in search of a winner, but goalkeepers on either end making timely saves to keep the score line level. As regulation time reached the two-minute mark, SF made another dangerous attack with a through ball played to the speedy #20 who darted through the Griffins’ back line only to collide with the oncoming Griffins’ goalkeeper Stramecky. The ball deflected off the goalkeeper and rolled out for a corner kick. However, the deafening sound of the far-side referee, along with his sauntering march towards the penalty spot, brought on loud cheers from the SF players and fans as potential game winning opportunity was awarded.
Not so fast!!!
Griffins’ goalkeeper David Stramecky pulled off perhaps his biggest save of his career as a Griffin when he made a diving save to his right to keep the Griffins’ dream alive! Griffins’ players, coaches and fans were relieved of another heartbreak at the hands of Shannon Forest! Two 5-minute periods of overtime play remained in a deadlock leading to the dreaded “Penalty Shootout” to determine the match winner. Griffins’ Coach Reyes made one important change by inserting Will Henderson as the goalkeeper, perhaps looking for a psychological edge. SF took the first penalty and scored; next was Ian Kusher leading the Griffins with a confident finish. SF scored their second; Cole Sanchez bags SDS second. Tension rises as SF #14 their goal-scorer, approached the ball only to see it cannon off the right post…miss! SDS responds with a calm finish from Damian Player to take a 3-2 lead. SF responded with a calm finish on their 4th penalty to tie 3-3. Anthony Ramirez with the 4th SDS penalty and a chance to maintain the lead had his shot saved by the SF net-minder. SF delivered their 5th penalty which slipped out of the grasp of Griffins’ goalkeeper Will Henderson. Ironically, Henderson lined up to take the 5th penalty for the Griffins which he emphatically buried to keep the shootout tied at 4-4.
High Drama! Sudden Death scenario where the first to miss would be the looser. SF goes first and scores, Rett Foust equals the score with his near perfect placement. Griffins’ goalkeeper Henderson pulls off a brilliant save to cancel SF 7th. With a chance for the win, Griffins’ midfielder Jack Birney has his penalty saved by the SF goalkeeper!
Penalty kick # 8, SF player steps up and crashed his shot off the crossbar…MISS!!!!! Griffins’ 8th penalty kicker was 8th Grader Kaif Surka. He confidently strode from the half line to the penalty area, with the game on the line and his teammates cheering him on, assistant coaches and players locked shoulder to shoulder and starting goalkeeper David Stramecky refusing to look…the script unfolds as the 8th Grader delivered the 8th penalty kick for the Griffins’ win!
Griffins’ players storm the field with shouts of Kaif! Kaif! Kaif! Kaif! Kaif! Kaif!!!! Griffins win 6-5 on penalty kicks and are 8-1-0 record for the season.
Anderson, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer cruise to a 3-0 win at Anderson Christian Academy in non-region matchup.
Only a day after their massive overtime battle against cross town rival Oakbrook, Griffins travelled to Anderson Christian for a non-region game with an opportunity to get back to their winning ways. From the kickoff, it was obvious that the Griffins were fatigued from the previous night’s contest. Their speed of play and indecision did not reflect the qualities that has become the character of the team. Anderson Christian though, approached the game with intent to steal a win as they pushed for an early lead. Solid defensive work by Noah Beason in the midfield and Will Henderson coordinating the efforts of the back line kept AC at bay.
Anthony Ramirez, Cole Sanchez, Chandler Lindsey and Rett Foust, each of whom had given yeoman service the night before, struggled to find their rhythm and could only muster a few harmless attempts at the AC goal. Just over 20 minutes into the half, Griffins earned their firth corner kick and Cole Sanchez served a great ball into the penalty box which was handled by an AC defender resulting in a penalty kick for the Griffins. Senior Cole Sanchez took the penalty kick and sliced it wide left of the AC goal. The lackluster half by the Griffins closed at 0-0.
A reshuffled line up and pointed half time talk from the Griffin’s coach set the tone for the second half. With senior Chandler Lindsey now leading the attack, it took 7 minutes into the second half for him to notch the first goal of the match after he was fed a clever, defense splitting pass by Anthony Ramirez. At the 58:30 mark, it was Ramirez again pulling the strings from midfield as he slipped another beauty of a pass to Rett Foust who immediately connected a first-time pass to Chandler Lindsey who calmly slotted home his second goal of the match.
Lindsey’s two goals gave the Griffins a comfortable lead and he was rewarded with a much-deserved substitution as he was replaced by Seth Reid. With the game in full control by the Griffins, Quinn Hedges drew a foul in the AC box and the ensuing penalty kick was calmly placed into the net by Anthony Ramirez to extend the lead to three at the 67th minute mark. Several players saw some action as Coach Reyes opted to give most of the starters some well-earned rest while David Stramecky preserved the shot-out in goal.
Spartanburg, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School boys' varsity soccer team fall in overtime to Oakbrook Prep 4-1 in a bitter crosstown rivalry Region matchup. Fresh off Spring Break, both the Griffins and Oakbrook came into this matchup prepared for battle. From the kickoff, both teams showed no signs of having a week off from school or games as the action built from one end to the next.
In what appeared to be a questionable call on Griffins, Oakbrook was awarded a penalty kick for a hand ball in the box or very possibly just outside of the box which caused some confusion. The ensuing penalty kick was struck perilously close to Griffins’ goalkeeper David Stramecky’s outstretched left hand to give Oakbrook a 1-0 lead. Griffins immediately responded with several attacks through Chandler Lindsey, Cole Sanchez and Anthony Ramirez, which either resulted in a save, near miss or a foul by determined Oakbrook players. Both teams battled tirelessly and at times emotions ran high to the point where bot Ramirez and Kusher received yellow cards after overreacting to a harsh foul on Ramirez. The battle raged on and two Oakbrook players received yellow cards just before the close of the first half.
Griffins came into the second half with purpose and intent to force themselves back into the contest. Fifteen minutes into the half, Griffins were awarded a right-side corner kick. A perfectly flighted ball by Kusher was met with a powerful header from Will Henderson which was blocked by the Oakbrook goalkeeper but then fell to the feet of Rett Foust who knocked in the rebound to level the score at 1-1. Throughout the remainder of the half, the game ebbed back and forth filled with near misses, blocked shots lots of fouls and or missed calls as players, coaches and fans vociferously spurred their team on to grab a winner before regulation. With the game clock winding down pass the two-minute mark, Griffin’s senior captain Ian Kusher delivered a timely tackle to thwart a dangerous Oakbrook counter-attack. After the foul was called, Kusher was issued his second yellow card of the match and was ejected from the game.
Griffins enter the two 5-minute overtime period without their captain Kusher which the team playing a man down. The Region rivalry remained intense and unfortunately with fatigued legs from being short- handed, Griffins conceded three goals in the overtime period to fall for the first time this season.
Spartanburg, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer team cruise to a 4-2 win at home over Spartanburg Christian Academy in another Region matchup.
Victories in region games do not come easily! SDS Griffins, fresh off two region wins last week, made this game more difficult that necessary. Coach Reyes seemed troubled by his team’s unenthusiastic start as he paced nervously near the team bench. Although the Griffins took control of the game, it took almost 10 minutes before they registered the first item. Senior Cole Sanchez drove down the left flank and served a cross to Anthony Ramirez who fired off a shot from the edge of the SCA box which deflected off Freshman Damian Player and wrong-footed the flying SCA goalkeeper and settled into the opposite corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Looking to add a bit of a spark to the lackluster Griffins, Coach Reyes introduced Noah Beason for Jack Birney and the impact was immediate. Griffins began to show a bit more urgency in their play and launched several dangerous attacks through seniors Cole Sanchez and Chandler Lindsey while, Anthony Ramirez, Rett Foust and Damian Player pushed for more goals. Acrobatic goalkeeping by the SCA goalkeeper is all that stood between the Griffins and their next goal. With 9:20 left in the first half, Freshman Damian Player slipped pass two SCA defenders into the box and calmly struck his second on the night. Player struck again with 2 minutes before the break when he picked up a cleaver pass from Ramirez to slide pass the SCA keeper for his third and first hattrick of the season.
Griffins came into the second half holding a comfortable 3-0 lead, however, SCA were not prepared to throw in the towel. Within three minutes of the second half, Griffins conceded a foul just outside of their penalty box. Despite the four-man wall set up, SCA player calmly struck his free kick over the wall and into the far corner to beat the outstretched hands of Griffins’ goalkeeper David Stramecky to narrow the Griffins lead. Griffins would get on the scoresheet for their fourth of the night when left side midfielder Rett Foust served a cross into the SCA box where a recovering defender’s attempt to clear was headed into his own net with 14 minutes left to play.
With 10 minutes left to play and a comfortable 3 goal lead, Coach Reyes introduced several players including Seth Reid, Kaif Sukura, Asa Davis, Quinn Hedges and Reid Stille. SCA however were not done as they notched a second item from another free kick which was played in behind the Griffins’ back line and knocked pass an onrushing Davis Stramecky into the open net for a final score of 4-2. Griffins overall record now stands at 6-0-0 and are perfect in the region at 3-0-0.
Greenwood, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer team earn a well-deserved 3-1 victory on the road at Greenwood Christian School. Griffins are now 2-0-0 in Region games and remain undefeated for the season (5-0-0).
After a delayed departure for the first game away from SDS, the Griffins fell behind early within 5 minutes from kickoff. Greenwood Christian were very feisty and with Griffins under pressure GC scored off a well taken shot from distance to lead 1-0.
Once the dust and early nerves settled, the Griffins gradually began to play with composure and confidence. Senior Chandler Lindsey, Freshman Damien Player and Sophomore Vance Lever were introduced into the line-up which paid immediate dividends as the Griffins’ attack drew some good saves and desperate defending out of the GC goalkeeper and back line. A quick throw-in near the left side of the penalty box, found Damien Player who evaded a tackle and blasted home at close range to tie the game at the 30th minute mark. Three more chances went a-begging for the Griffins as the first half closed.
Greenwood Christian, apparently rested and regrouped during the half time interval, began the second half with intensity as they looked for an early jump on the Griffins as they did in the first half. Griffins on the other hand, had other plans as they grabbed the lead at the 43:30 mark when their corner kick found the head of Will Henderson who redirected the ball to Rett Foust to tap into the GC net. Once in the lead, the Griffins took full control of the game as they dominated possession and launched attack after attack but only yielded near misses, saves and desperate clearances from the GC team.
Greenwood Christian, on the rare occasion they ventured into the Griffins half, gave the Griffins a scare as a shot which appeared to be going wide of the far post, left goalkeeper Stramecky stranded and looking at the ball crashing onto his far post then harmlessly rolling out for a goal-kick. A few minutes later, Rett Foust, who terrorized the GC right side defenders, forayed past three defenders and was brought down in the penalty box by the fourth defender he encountered. Senior Ian Kusher stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick and calmly buried his shot into the back of the GC net for the 3-1 score to seal the game for the Griffins. Griffins gave a credible performance as the secured their second Region win for the season.
Spartanburg, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys soccer team battle hard to top Shannon Forest 4-2 in their first Region game and remain undefeated for the season (4-0-0).
Griffins were on the defensive from the kickoff, coming into this game as the top team in the Region. Their direct style and speed created lots of problems for the Griffins back four which started without regulars Kusher and Lian. Goalkeeper David Stramecky was called into action early and often and did brilliantly in a 1v1 situation to keep the score-line even for the first 20 minutes.
On the other-hand, senior Chandler Lindsey and Freshman Damien Player created a few chances for the Griffins until Shannon Forest struck the first blow with a finish from 12 yards out in the 23rd minute. Three minutes later, Griffins senior Cole Sanchez on his second corner kick opportunity, served a sharp in-swinger to the near post which skimmed off the head of a SF defender and into the back of the net to tie the game.
Five minutes later, Shannon Forest took the lead after a mad scramble and at least 6 attempts to clear the ball from the Griffins’ goal mouth. Within another 5 minutes, the Griffins showed that they were up for the challenge and after a brilliant attempt off the head of Ian Kusher rebounded off the crossbar and fell perfectly on Chandler Lindsey’s chest which he then tapped over the goal-line to even the score at 2-2 to close out the half.
The second half provided the fans and teams with some very tense and nail-biting moments on both ends of the field. The will, grit and determination of each player showed what it takes to compete within the Region. The Griffins’ rose to the occasion at the 55th minute, Damien Player, who began to create lots of problems in the attack, was brought down just outside of the Shannon Forest penalty area. The ensuing free-kick was superbly measured by Ian Kusher and delivered to the back post for a late arriving run from Rett Foust who struck a neat volley into the back of the SF net to give the Griffins a 3-2 lead. End to end action, filled with tough tackling, great saves, near misses created an exciting game. At the 75th minute, Griffin senior Cole Sanchez picked up a great pass out wide from Chandler Lindsey and he sped down the line pass two SF defenders and fed a perfect ball to Freshman Damien Player who rifled a rocket into the top of the net for a Griffin 4-2 victory!
The team will be back in action on Thursday, March 22 as they travel to Greenwood to play Greenwood Christian School.
Spartanburg, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer picked up their third win (2-1), in a hard fought match against Landrum High School.
Senior Chandler Lindsey lead the way in tonight’s match with an assist and game winning goal. The game started in a very lackluster manner with both teams appearing to be either very sluggish or cautious. However, it took approximately 6 minutes for the Griffins to get on the scoresheet when Chandler Lindsey found himself gliding by the Landrum High Left Back and served a deep cross to the back post where Rett Foust arrived with his timely run to calmly tap home for the game’s first goal.
Landrum High School wasted little time and began to search for an equalizer which came off the breakaway finish by their #10 to tie the game within 5 minutes of the Griffins’ lead. The Griffins then raised the tempo and speed of play and came close to scoring several times but were unable to grab the lead again before the close of the first half.
Landrum High, put the Griffins on the backfoot from the start of the second half. An obvious change to their formation, LHS began to create lots of problems defensively for the Griffins. Goalkeeper Stamecky and his back four which included 8th Grader Hill Mitchell were kept busy with a series of attacks coming from the LHS midfield and front line.
Approximately 15 minutes into the second half, LHS were very unfortunate to not grab another goal as a close-range shot cannoned off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared away to safety. On the other hand, the Griffins also had several opportunities go a-begging with Lindsey, Player and others either shot high or wide of the goal. At the 30:48 mark of the half, with some neat combination play, Freshman Damien Player connected with Chandler Lindsey to set him up for a calm finish for what would prove to be the game winner. The Griffins, though seemingly desperate at times held on for the win. Griffins are now 3-0-0 for the season.
The team will be back in action on Tuesday, March 20 with an away game against Shannon Forest Christian School. Kick off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Spartanburg, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer hold on for a 2-1 win against visiting Greenville Hurricanes.
Griffins were a threat from the kickoff as senior Chandler Lindsey terrorized the Greenville Hurricanes defensive line. With basketball season behind him, Lindsey quickly adjusted to soccer mode and came close to scoring on three opportunities within the first 15 minutes. The hurricanes resistance finally broke with 13:35 left in the first half as Lindsey again brushed pass several defenders and played a great pass across the Hurricanes’ goal mouth which was struck into their net by a desperate recovering defender to give the Griffins a 1 goal lead.
Goalkeeper David Stramecky got his second in goal and was hardly troubled by the few attempts from distance by the Hurricanes’ attack. A mis-cleared ball by Griffins’ left back #11 Vance Lever, resulted in a corner kick for the Canes. The ensuing kick dropped dangerously close to the Griffins goal line and after a few frightening moments of attempted clearances, the ball was cleared out of danger to preserve the Griffins’ one goal lead at the half.
The second half begun very spirited as the Hurricanes looked for an early equalizer. The introduction of freshman Damien Player and first half sub Rett Foust gave the Griffins some additional spark, speed and skill in attack. Approximately 20 minutes into the second half, it was Foust who slipped a clever pass into Player who gracefully and calmly slotted a perfectly placed shot into the right corner of the Hurricanes goal to extend the lead to two.
After going down by two, the Hurricanes came alive and mounted a flurry of attacks which called the Griffins’ back line of Lian, Kusher, Henderson and Lever, and midfielders Hill, Birney, Ramirez, Sanchez, Lindsey, Foust and goalkeeper Stramesky into constant action and at times, desperate defending.
As the game got to the closing 5 minutes and the Griffins were holding on to preserve their second shut-out of the season, when the Hurricanes struck a low shot into the far-right post to put a blemish on the Griffins’ defensive efforts on the night. Griffins are now 2-0-0 for the season.
Spartanburg, S.C.- The Spartanburg Day School varsity boys' soccer win at home 2-0 against visiting Ben Lippen.
Goalkeeper David Stramecky got the start in goal and was only called upon 3 times to preserve the shutout for the Griffins.
Although evenly matched for the first 15 minutes, the Griffins gradually took control of the game yet were not able to register a goal in the first half from the five chances they created.
Within 7 minutes of the second half the Griffins got their first of the night when a low driven cross into the Ben Lippen penalty area from Cole Sanchez was mis-played by a recovering defender into his own goal. Ben Lippen searched for an equalizer, but the Griffin defense (Tim Lian, Ian Kusher, Will Henderson and Vance Lever) and goalkeeper Stramesky held firm.
With 13 minutes left in the game, senior Cole Sanchez picked up a great pass in midfield and glided pass two opponents before sending a well measured pass to Anthony Ramirez who calmly evaded an onrushing Ben Lippen goalkeeper #0 Eddy Kim and slipped his left footed shot into the corner of the net to secure the win for the Griffins.
Several newcomers made their debut appearance for the Griffins. Freshman Damien Player made his debut in the starting lineup, while Junior, Rett Foust, 8th graders Hill Mitchell, Kaif Surka and Adom Appiah also saw some minutes in tonight’s season opener.