Handley boys boot James Wood

By Jerry Holsworth Special to The Winchester Star

Mar 27, 2018

WINCHESTER — The Handley’s boys’ soccer team gave Coach Scott Bucey a wedding present Monday by dominating James Wood 5-2 in a Northwestern District boys’ clash.

Assistant coach John Trelawny took over for Bucey who was getting married in Charleston, S.C., and Handley didn’t lose a beat, keeping the ball deep in the Colonels’ end of the field through most of the contest.

“I was really excited to give Coach Bucey a good win against our biggest rival,” Trelawny said. “He’s off to South Carolina to get married and I was proud of the guys for putting out the effort they did.”

“Handley has a very skillful team,” Colonels coach Brian Sullivan said. “They attacked us relentlessly the whole game, and that kept us on our heels. We’re very young and we’re learning more every day. We can build off that. We just had too many self-inflicted wounds. You can’t give up five goals in a game and expect to compete.”

Despite facing pressure nearly the entire game, James Wood’s defense kept the Judges off the scoreboard for most of the first half. Handley took three hard shots on the Colonels’ goal during the first 20 minutes, but goalkeeper Hayden Armstrong saved all three of them.

Handley’s efforts, however, finally paid off with 12 minutes left in the half when Owen Mattens took a cross from John Avant at left wing and hammered it past Armstrong from 10 yards out to put the Judges up 1-0.

“John made a great run down the left side and just played me a great ball,” Mattens said.

Three minutes later Avant got another assist, crossing the ball to Spence Denis who scored to give Handley a 2-0 lead at halftime.

“I was really happy with the way our bench played when they were out there,” Trelawny said. “We’ve got a great group of kids this year. They gave us a good result tonight.”

Although the Judges (2-0, 1-0 district) continued the pressure, the Colonels (0-2-2, 0-2) finally began exert some heat, too. Nate Dansie got James Wood’s first shot of the game and although it missed it sent a message the Colonels’ had not thrown in the towel.

Handley responded just four minutes after Dansie’s shot when Denis scored his second goal off a ricochet from a free kick by Mohammad Nama to extend the Judges lead to 3-0 with 28 minutes to play.

“John made another great run and I was just there to put it in on my first goal,” Denis said. “My second goal was just a case of me being at the right place at the right time. Mohammad really shot it hard at the goal and it bounded off the crossbar straight to me.”

Wood kept up the pressure and it finally paid off six minutes later. Jairo Reyes launched a cross from left wing to Paul Ebersole who volleyed it from five yards out pass Handley goalkeeper Joel Romero to get James Wood on the scoreboard.

Handley extended its lead to 4-1 with six minutes to play with a goal from 12 yards out by Mattens.

With the game clock running down below two minutes both teams scored again. The Judges’ goal came from a shot from point blank range by Alex Pinos-Santos and James Wood’s came just moments later on a shot by Reyes.

“This a good win for us,” Denis said. “Wood always plays us physical but I thought that we played a good game, too.”

“Honestly, I think we have some things we need to work on as a team,” Ebersole said. “We certainly need to communicate better. I thought we had a good night, especially in the second half, but we still have things we need to improve on.”

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