SPRINGVILLE — Sept. 13 marked the lone win in a season pocked with struggles for the Springville-Griffith Institute varsity boys soccer team. After dropping the first five games of the season by a combined score of 28 – 1, S-GI’s offense went up against Cheektowaga on Sept. 13, to secure a 5 – 2 victory for Springville, boosting the team’s record to 1 – 5.
One week later, Springville was taken down again by a score of 8 – 0, this time at East Aurora’s hands, on Springville’s home field.
The boys regrouped, on Saturday, Sept. 22, when they headed to Depew in search of a win to add to their only victory on the season.
While the contest against Depew was closer than the Griffins’ past games have been, the result was another loss, albeit by 1 goal: 2 – 1. S-GI’s Kevin Zabawa scored the only Springville goal in that game, the second goal Springville scored in a loss, this season, when he beat the Depew goaltender at the 35-minute mark. Right fielder Ryan Knight assisted on the goal, with his pass.
Although his team came out on the short end, Nolan Gills made 10 saves in goal, to keep the game close. “Nolan had his strongest game of the season, making some huge saves early in the first half,” said Tom Szczerbacki, head coach of the Springville squad.
Gills was back between the pipes on Monday, Sept. 24, when his team hosted Pioneer. “He was pumped and focused right from the start,” said Szczerbacki.
Gills made eight saves in the game, one of which his coach described as “a great diving save,” which came at 15 minutes in, and another one that Szczerbacki said was “an amazing save off a redirection from a corner kick” that came just before the half ended. Both saves kept the games scoreless, but Depew scored in the second half and went on to down the Griffins with a 1 – 0 final.
“Nolan has looked very strong the last two games,” Szczerbacki said, after the loss. “We look forward to the second half of the season, with him as our goalkeeper.”
In addition to the goalie, the coach referenced a “strong game on defense” from Jason Fisher and the “solid game” from Tyler Hanrahan, the team’s stopper.
“Defensively, the back four have played very well the last two games,” Szczerbacki said, after the set of close losses. “That’s where it all starts. We need to play strong defensively and do it consistently and that will create more opportunities on offense.
“A big part of our success defensively in the last two games has been the play of Jon Weronski,” Szczerbacki continued. “Jon was moved to sweeper against Depew and played an outstanding game. Jon is a force in the back and is a very vocal leader on our team.”
In praising his players, Szczerbacki added, “Center midfielders Owen Gow and Brandon Sullivan had outstanding games in the middle. These two players control the middle. Defensively, they get back and support and, on the offensive side, they play off each other. They see the field and distribute the ball very well.”
The boys lost another game on Saturday, Sept. 29 on the road at Amherst 3 – 1.
Springville’s record was 1 – 9, as they played Lakeshore on Oct. 2. The Griffs played on Friday, Oct. 5, against Maryvale and will play again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, when the boys will travel to Cheektowaga, whom the Griffs defeated on Sept. 13.