DERUYTER — The DeRuyter Rockets boys soccer team claimed the championship of the inaugural DeRuyter Booster Club Blast-Off Tournament in a 5-3 victory over the McGraw Eagles Saturday at DeRuyter High.
After defeating the Solvay Bearcats 13-2 Friday, the Rockets wasted no time heating up the offense against the Eagles, firing nine shots in the first half and forcing Eagles goalie Nolan Knickerbocker to make six saves.
In the 13th minute, the Rockets got on the scoreboard with the first of two Gavin Richardson goals. Twenty-one minutes later, Richardson settled down an errant pass in the box and fed Camren Daley for a goal from 15 yards out.
The Eagles had a chance to cut the lead in half at the very end of the first half when Matthew Heath found himself all alone with Rockets goalie Wesley Pforter (two saves), but his shot missed wide right to end the half.
As entertaining as the first half was, the teams were just getting started.
Richardson made it 3-0 Rockets with a goal in the 42nd minute after collecting a rebound off an initial save by Knickerbocker. Four minutes later, Jackson Card wove through two defenders in the box to score the Eagles’ first goal.
In between, Richardson had a chance for a hat trick on a penalty kick but missed wide right of the net. Card had a penalty kick opportunity of his own in the 52nd minute but also missed wide right.
The frenetic pace continued as Elliott Millett made it 4-1 Rockets in the 51st minute after collecting another rebound off Knickerbocker, who had just stopped another Richardson hat trick bid after he battled through two defenders to put the shot on goal.
Nathan Stiles cut the DeRuyter lead back down to two in the 58th minute after he received a throw-in from Card in the offensive third and made a solo run towards goal. Stiles would return the favor to Card in the 79th minute for the final goal of the weekend.
“We knew (McGraw was) going to be a tough team,” Rockets head coach Matt Skeele said. “Jackson’s a phenomenal player. He’ll go get a goal whenever he wants. Our defense held up enough, and I knew we could score goals, and we did that.”
Perhaps the most impressive goal of the tournament came in the 68th minute from DeRuyter’s Andrew Glisson. Glisson, who played much of the game on the defensive side, received the ball 35 yards away from goal and powered through three defenders on his way to beat Knickerbocker.
“He battles,” Skeele said. “He always does. He works hard. He took a good shot on the ankle (before halftime). He wanted to come back out, we tested him and he was fine. He felt good enough to go. He was a little bit sore, but he’s confident on the ball, he’s got a heck of a strike and tries it all the time in practice.”
After the game, DeRuyter athletic director Sheri Smith presented Richardson with the Best Offensive Player award for his eight goals over the two games, Knickerbocker with the Best Goalkeeper Award for making 23 saves and DeRuyter’s Ryder Forrest with the Best Defensive Player award. She also announced the school’s intention to host the tournament annually and begin a girls tournament next year.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Skeele said of Richardson. “Once he gets the ball in front of him, it can be tough for anybody to run him down. His finishing has gotten so much better over the last two or three years I’ve coached him. This is his fifth year on varsity… If he wants the ball he’s going to go get it.”
The Rockets outshot the Eagles 24-15, but only five of the Eagles’ shots were on target, while 18 of the Rockets’ shots were on target.
“We made the most of the shots we had,” Skeele said. “We had a bunch and finished some. We probably could have had more, and honestly they could have had more.”
In the consolation game, the Cortland Purple Tigers defeated Solvay 7-0 in a game that was stopped at halftime. Nick Yonta scored four goals and Max Gambitta had a goal and three assists to lead the Purple Tigers’ efforts. Scott Hourigan made two saves for his second shutout of the season.
Marathon 1, Northville 0
Delta Barber had the lone goal in the fifth minute off a free kick that bounced off the woodwork and in, giving the Olympians the win over Section II’s Northville in the New York State High School Girls Soccer Hall of Fame Tournament in Albany.
Marathon battled through the match with no substitutes available due to injuries and quarantines and earned two wins at the tournament, including a 4-0 shutout Friday of Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville. They are off until Friday against Moravia.