Pa­tel’s pass­ing key in Prince­ton win vs. Tren­ton

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Red Birch rbirch@tren­to­nian.com @Tren­to­ni­anRed on Twit­ter

TREN­TON » Dean Pa­tel looks at as­sists on a soc­cer field rather philo­soph­i­cally.

“An as­sist is partly the pass, but it only hap­pens when some­one scores,” the Prince­ton High se­nior mid­fielder said. “So I have more as­sists be­cause our fin­ish­ing has been bet­ter.”

Pa­tel’s passes were as cru­cial as his team’s scor­ing Thurs­day when he helped the Lit­tle Tigers post a 2-0 road win over Tren­ton High to lock up the Colo­nial Val­ley Con­fer­ence Colo­nial Di­vi­sion ti­tle.

Pa­tel as­sisted on both goals to tie him for the team lead in that cat­e­gory. He has been ex­tremely ef­fi­cient at lead­ing his team­mates over the last six games when he has passed for six of his seven as­sists.

“A lot of it is in­stinct,” Pa­tel said. “And you can get a lot more as­sists when you one touch.”

It also helps that Pa­tel takes cor­ner kicks for Prince­ton. With a num­ber of six­foot or taller team­mates, he just has to place the ball high enough in a space where one of his team­mates will be crash­ing through.

That was the case when Pa­tel took a cor­ner four min­utes into the game at Tren­ton. Se­nior back Jasper Scott moved into the mix and headed in the ini­tial tally.

“Jasper played a big role for us to­day with that goal and lock­ing down their No. 8 (Aba David) all game,” Pa­tel said.

Tren­ton (9-4-1, 1-2-1) evened out play af­ter that, but had trou­ble get­ting through and around the Lit­tle Tigers’ big­ger back line.

Then Pa­tel’s fa­vorite as­sist of the game proved to be a back­breaker.

With time run­ning out in the first half, Prince­ton (10-21, 3-0-1) played the ball to one cor­ner in what looked like an ef­fort to kill time.

In­stead, head coach Wayne Sut­cliffe’s team worked the ball all the way back across the goal mouth un­til Pa­tel slid it a lit­tle far­ther to class­mate Remy He­bert, who rushed the far post and kicked in the sec­ond tally with 3.4 sec­onds left on the clock.

“That one was just a mis­take,” Tor­na­does ju­nior back Mario Pala­cios said. “We didn’t see it com­ing. I feel we made a good game out of it af­ter that. We just couldn’t score.”

The tim­ing of the sec­ond goal could have bro­ken the spir­its of head coach Joe Fink’s team as much as in­juries to its scor­ing line of Uziel Vil­lanueva, Jose Es­co­bar and David through the course of the game. But Tren­ton pres­sured the Lit­tle Tigers’ net for most of the sec­ond half.

David had a shot turn inches wide of the goal six min­utes into the sec­ond half, then Erick Mayen took a free kick with 14 min­utes left that Prince­ton goal­keeper Pa­trick Ja­cobs had to knock away from goal with a slid­ing foot save.

The Tor­na­does could not find some­one with Pa­tel’s un­der­stand­ing of the as­sist as the Lit­tle Tigers’ de­fense handed the home team its only shutout de­feat this year.

Prince­ton (10-2-1) Tren­ton (9-4-1) 2 0— 0 0—

Scott, He­bert (P).

Pa­tel 2 (P).

5 (P), 5 (T).

PJa­cobs 4 (P), Men­dez 3 (T).

2 0

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