SVA boys battle to draw with Fresta Valley

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

NEW MARKET — Shenandoah Valley Academy played in a four-day tournament over the weekend, and it showed on Tuesday night.

The Stars looked sluggish as they battled to a 2-2 tie with Fresta Valley in non-conference boys soccer action.

“Everybody was just off,” SVA coach Norbert Jedamski said. “We were just fatigued.”

The Stars played in a tournament in Mt. Vernon, Ohio and played five matches in four days. They played in the championship game against Tacoma Academy (Md.) at 10 p.m. on Saturday, and the match went to penalty kicks after a 1-1 regulation tie. The Stars lost 3-2 in penalty kicks.

“We played 90 minutes and subbed a total of three players, and they did, too,” Jedamski said.

On Tuesday, Fresta Valley struck first. Brandon Worsham scored in the first two minutes on a breakaway to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.

“The two goals we scored, it was just sheer hustle on our part,” Fresta Valley coach Kevin Worsham said. “It was just a through ball and he took advantage of a keeper that was playing back on his line.”

The Pioneers helped the Stars tie the match up. Fresta Valley goalie Ricky Grabich tried to make a play on SVA’s J.P. Santos’ free kick and headed into his own net with around 16 minutes left in the first half.

“We scored one for them,” Kevin Worsham said. “We’d like to have that one back.”

The Stars took the lead right before the half. An indirect kick landed short of the goal and SVA’s Rafael Mancini got to the ball and knocked it in for a 2-1 SVA lead.

“Rafael scored, but look how many shots he took that went wide,” Jedamski said. “If his foot would have been on, they would have been in.”

Only seven minutes into the second half, play was stopped for a 20-minute lighting delay. Just 12 minutes after play resumed, Brandon Worsham struck again with another goal to tie the match at 2-2.

“It was just all-out hustle,” Kevin Worsham said. “He times his runs just right. The defense just made a mistake and I applaud on both of his goals — he didn’t shank them.”

The Stars had plenty of chances throughout the match, but just missed on most of their opportunities.

Fresta Valley’s Dominic Powers was given a red card for diving with about six minutes left in the game, forcing the Pioneers to go a man down. The Pioneers (7-2-1) were able to hold off the Stars to force the tie.

“We had to regroup a little bit [after the red card],” Kevin Worsham said. “My strategy was I wasn’t going for the win at that point. I was going to knock the ball out of bounds, take our time and go home.”

Kevin Worsham said he was happy with the way his team played from behind.

“We didn’t give up,” he said. “When we were down by one and we kept playing hard, playing aggressive.”

The loss the Stars suffered on Saturday was their only one of the season, and Tuesday’s tie was their second of the season.

They have many players from around the world, including Brazil and Colombia. Jedamski said that the language barrier hasn’t been too bad and the players enjoy playing with each other.

“They’ve played enough now that when they’re on, they hardly need to speak to each other,” Jedamski said.

Jedamski said when they play at their best the Stars have a very strong team this season, which includes 11 seniors.

“We have an explosive front end,” Jedamski said. “Our front end, when they’re on, their passing is beautiful. It’s a pleasure to coach boys that know how to play soccer. My job is to make them jell.”