Blues use mem­ory of early loss as fuel for ti­tle tri­umph

Kingston Whig-Standard - - SPORTS - DOUG GRA­HAM dgra­ham@post­media.com

A slap in the face at the start of the sea­son in the form of a 2-0 loss seems to have been the im­pe­tus for send­ing the Kingston Blues se­niors boys soccer team on the way to a cham­pi­onship.

Eli Westlake re­called that defin­ing mo­ment Thurs­day af­ter the Blues edged the Ernestown Ea­gles 1-0 in the Kingston Area Sec­ondary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion fi­nal at Richard­son Sta­dium.

“We lost our first game to an op­po­nent [the Sy­den­ham Golden Ea­gles] we should have beaten. Our team could have fallen apart right there,” Westlake said.

“We had a player meet­ing and talked about what we needed to do for the sea­son. We came to­gether af­ter that and played well. We haven’t lost since.”

The Blues (7-1-1 in­clud­ing play­offs) fin­ished off the run with the 1-0 win, cour­tesy of an early goal from Noah Frymire. That held up for the ti­tle, the first se­nior boys soccer ti­tle for the school since 2005.

The win also halted a sto­ry­book sea­son for the un­der­dog Ea­gles, who had never won a KASSAA soccer ti­tle.

“They are not sat­is­fied, but they re­al­ize that is a good team and we al­most did ev­ery­thing we could,” said Tom Pinker­ton, who along with An­drew Pa­pan­i­co­laou, are the Ernestown coaches.

“It was an un­for­tu­nate re­sult for us, but prob­a­bly fair.”

Blues coach Dave Lo­ken said the game plan was to try to score early to put the Ea­gles on their heels.

“We came up with a strat­egy of try­ing to put them un­der pres­sure and try to get an early goal and then open things up. The goal came faster than we ex­pected,” Lo­ken said.

“It was one of the best fi­nals I’ve been in for a while. Back and forth. It was nice.”

The Blues didn’t lack for scor­ing chances to build their lead, but Ea­gles keeper Will Huyck was ter­rific in bat­ting away scor­ing at­tempts.

“We had lots of chances. Their goalie did an amaz­ing job sav­ing,” Lo­ken said.

“We had some chances. We weren’t just do­ing noth­ing on of­fence. Their goalie played amaz­ing,” Zeke Wil­son, one of the Blues strong back­side de­fend­ers, said.

“He was stand­ing on his head. I feel like it could have been 6-0, but also could be 1-1 just as eas­ily.”

Blues keeper Alex Beamish, while not nearly as busy, did make a leap­ing dive to tip away a kick from Devin Clark that oth­er­wise was go­ing into the top left corner. That chance came mid­way through the first half.

Lo­ken said the Blues depth may have been the dif­fer­ence.

“We could keep putting guys out there. Fresh legs helped main­tain our lead,” said Lo­ken, point­ing also to that early-sea­son les­son in the 2-0 loss to Sy­den­ham.

“Team first. We’ve made that our motto. We did a great job play­ing as a team to­day.”

At Mik­las-McCar­ney Field, the ju­nior boys cham­pi­onship went into over­time af­ter Holy Cross scored in the last minute to force over­time. Af­ter two 10-minute over­time pe­ri­ods, the La Salle Black Knights took the ti­tle, win­ning 5-4 on penalty kicks.

TIM GORDANIER/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Ernestown Ea­gles keeper Will Huyck makes a save off a shot from Kingston Blues' Graeme Work­man (8) in the first half of the Kingston Area Sec­ondary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion se­nior boys soccer fi­nal Thurs­day at Richard­son Sta­dium. KC won the game, 1-0.

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