Rams top Hornets after game moved to Vets Park
HAMILTON » The Hightstown and Hamilton High varsity boys soccer teams had a predicament Saturday.
Twenty-nine minutes into their game, right after the first goal had been scored, the teams had to leave.
Yes, they had to vacate Hamilton West’s Carl “Ace” Abbott Soccer Complex after a collision with one net on the goal snapped a post in two different places, leaving it unusable.
It was not an easily fixable problem, and there were no backup nets.
So the teams and officials then took about a half hour to figure out if they could move the game.
As luck would have it, both squads were able to get buses, and, with the help of Hamilton athletic director John Costantino and Hamilton Township director of the Department of Health, Recreation, Senior & Veterans Services Jeff Plunkett, the game was relocated to Al Cowell Field in Veterans Park.
About an hour later, the Rams and Hornets were playing again. About an hour after that, Hightstown came away with a 3-0 win.
“If that first goal hadn’t counted, I would have been a little upset,” Rams senior outside back Ian Lumkong said. “When we changed fields, we saw that this (Cowell) field is a lot wider, so we had to do a better job of possessing it.”
For Lumkong, the change just meant a little more running, which is nothing new to him since he is usually all over the field despite his defensive position.
He pushed forward to receive a pass from classmate Daniel Tobito to chip a shot over Hamilton goalkeeper Giuseppe Scordato with 11:28 left in the first half ahead of the broken post.
When play resumed, both teams used the space to spread the opposing defenses.
Only Hightstown was able to capitalize when Lumkong moved up again with 30 seconds left in the half. This time, he headed home a corner kick from senior Kenny Castillo to give the Rams a little breathing room en route to their fourth consecutive win.
“We’re a pretty tight group,” Lumkong said. “A lot of us have been playing together since we were in elementary school.”
The cohesiveness showed as head coach George Wolkiewicz’ charges limited the Hornets’ chances even after they switched fields. But head coach Chris Morales’ squad was not about to use the change of scenery as an excuse.
“A field is a field,” Hamilton senior fullback Manny Arevalo said. “At the end of the day, soccer is a field, a ball and two goals. You’ve just got to put it in between. They did a better job of that than we did.”
When the Hornets began to show life at the other end in the final 30 minutes, Hightstown put the game away when Christian Garcia headed in a free kick from Allan Gomez with 24:06 to play.
“Every team has to deal with losses,” Arevalo said. “We have to pick ourselves up and go from there.”
Getting their goal post fixed will help remove some of those predicaments.
Hightstown (4-1) 2 1 — 3
Hamilton (2-2) 0 0 — 0
Goals: Lumkong 2, Garcia (Hi); Assists: Tobito, Castillo, Gomez (Hi).
Shots: 9 (Hi), 3 (Ha); Saves: Connolly 1, Buri 1 (Hi), Scordato 6 (Ha).