Boys soccer: Moreno pokes Oswego past Batavia
Michael Moreno and the Oswego boys varsity soccer team compete with heart.
Watching the Panthers move up and down the field to hold Batavia scoreless on Thursday was visible evidence of it.
Moreno scored the game's only tally with 31:34 left in the first half, and the defense took care of the rest in Oswego's 1-0 win in Batavia.
"When we go out there, we play with all we have," said Moreno, a junior midfielder/forward. "We give it all...We try to play as hard as we can at all times. Sometimes, it doesn't come out as we wanted, but today, it did. We could've kept scoring more, but it didn't happen. We had a few chances and we at least got one in."
The Bulldogs (1-5-1, 0-1) found themselves with a fair number of scoring chances, but either misfires on shots on goal or the stout defensive poise of goalie Kaleb Stumpenhorst (six saves), kept them at bay to lead Oswego (4-2-1, 1-1).
"What's different this year is our [team] chemistry from the beginning has been good," Moreno said. "We really understand how to play with each other and I feel like that's going to be our advantage during the season."
"Kaleb, he hasn't really had that much playing time, but the playing time he has, he has been doing really good," Moreno said. "He definitely deserves his shot on the field, and I feel like if he keeps it, next year he's going to be starting [more often]."
Batavia, meanwhile, is looking for those offensive chances to finish in the upper third of the attack more frequently. Stumpenhorst had a pair of aggressive, but athletic sliding saves late in the second half to curtail an opportunistic Bulldogs' attack.
"...I think we create some chances in some games and just need to get that ball in the back of the net," Bulldogs coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "I thought, defensively, we did OK. Only giving up one goal, I thought that was a big deal. But, just being consistent [is important]. We're not giving up a lot of goals [so far], we've just got to find that ball and hopefully, it's sooner than later."
Bulldogs sophomore Xavier Justice, in his second year on varsity, provided a visible spark defensively off the bench. Justice helped shut down a pair of Oswego attack opportunities midway through the second half one-on-one.
"Xavier in the back, he played pretty well," Gianfrancesco said. "He stayed with [their attackers]...he did a nice job coming off the bench. Xavier is pretty flexible on where he can play. Good athlete, right? That gives us a lot of flexibility [depending on the lineup]."
Justice, for his part, has seemingly embraced making an impact wherever he is in the lineup.
"I can really go in anywhere. I wasn't a defender until this season, so this is kind of a new position for me," Justice said. "I'm learning. I just think 'Every time I step on that field, what can I do to affect the play?' and 'what can I do to help my teammates get opportunities, especially at right back trying to get crosses in?'"