The game was fast-paced and competitive from the opening minutes up to the final whistle of veteran referee Mike Porpora.
The Varsity Boys Soccer team opened the 2022 season with a convincing 4:0 win over Walsh Jesuit High School. The game was fast-paced and competitive from the opening minutes up to the final whistle of veteran referee Mike Porpora. (Well-informed sources tell us that he officiated WRA games when Head Coach Herb Haller '85 set scoring records while competing for the Pioneers.)
The Warriors tested the Pioneers’ defenders Kelly Janssen '23, Ty Mikula '23, Chris Philibin '23, and Davis Novak '25 and first time varsity goalie Brennan Christian '24 early in the contest without success. On the attacking end of the field WRA also had its chances and at first Walsh’s senior goalie Jacob Sumodi rose to the challenge. After the first 10 minutes of the first game of the season, the Pioneers’ play began to show increased focus and precision. In the 15th minute, after a cross from Jayden Gaynor ‘23, junior Hamza Kromah scored the first goal of the season for the boys varsity soccer team. Eleven minutes later, Agustín Duarte, a new senior from Chile scored the second goal with a header inside the 6 yard box assisted by sophomore Davis Novak. For the remainder of the first half Walsh was defending with 6 or more players in the back and looking to surprise the Pioneers with a counter attack. They were met with equal and often superior speed and skill by the WRA midfielders Pedro Lyra '23, Cam Krueger '23, and new junior Christian Tan '24 and the defense line. Goalie Brennan Christian only had to make two saves to maintain the team’s lead of 2 goals to zero at halftime.
During the break, coaches Haller and Capellas praised the team for how they handled the opponent and clarified some of the tactical expectations for the second half. Coach Haller challenged the boys to score a third goal in order to solidify the win and they responded in kind. After a corner kick for WRA less than 2 minutes into the second half the ball bounced between players in front of the goal until Kelly Janssen emphatically put it into the net. Jayden Gaynor ‘23 added one more goal six minutes later after the Walsh goalie could not control a cross from Mason Lawlor '23. The Pioneers held onto the lead until the end. Goalie Brennan Christion made a few more saves to preserve the clean sheet, which earned him the honor of “Man of the Match.” The opening game saw in total 20 different players step on the field for WRA, many of them new students, like Kaden Haslinger '25 and Oliver Wray '25 who had scored their first goals together with Shane Larabee '25 in the 3:0 victory of the JV team earlier that afternoon. The varsity team is facing the Hawks of Berlin Hiland High School on Saturday, August 27, at home.