Middle Park soccer takes down the Academy
The Middle Park boys soccer team has usually struggled against the Academy, and the Panthers entered Saturday’s game knowing they’d have to watch out for the Wildcats’ attack.
Coming into the contest, scouting reports had led Middle Park to plan for the Academy to try to get goals from dropping the ball over the Panthers’ defense. Even though the Panthers had prepared for it, the Academy found success with the tactic and ended the first half with Middle Park tied 3-all.
In the second, though, Middle Park dropped its formation back even farther, held the Wildcats scoreless, and the Middle Park offense mustered two goals, including the go-ahead score coming from Mason Chamberlin’s penalty kick, to deal the Academy its second loss of the season.
“We took away basically 10 to 15 yards of space for them to work on those long balls,” coach Dane Ruttenberg said of the team’s 5-3 victory over a team that has historically had Middle Park’s number.
Middle Park has a young squad with only a handful of seniors and limited varsity experience. For the coach, seeing such a young of a group play so well against the Academy was a big statement for Panthers soccer.
“This is the first time we’ve beaten the Academy in probably 10 years and the first time we’ve scored on them in four years,” coach Ruttenberg said. “This is a really, really good program.”
On defense, senior Alex Holinka and goalkeeper Ethan Rutthenberg earned the coach’s praise after the game, as did Chamberlin, Ryan Bole and Gustavo Galaviz, who all scored goals. Bole had two early in the game, and Galaviz added one, as did junior Adrian Rios.
“Mason’s penalty kick was fantastic,” the coach said of the Panthers’ other goal. “Gustavo has taken 99.8% of our penalty kicks for the last three seasons. I had (just made some substitutions), and I looked at the group and thought: ‘Well, Mason’s a senior; he’s a composed kid,’ and his penalty kick was beautiful.”
With the win over the Academy and Middle Park defeating Sheridan 10-0 on Monday, the Panthers are 7-1 on the season. The team’s only loss came from a 2-1 heartbreaker vs. KIPP Denver, when KIPP scored in the second overtime.
“I had never seen KIPP play so well, so I was really quite proud of the guys for competing as well as they did,” Coach Ruttenberg said. “(The Panthers) have shown me that we’re a top team in the league.”
Also, Middle Park is in a good position to pursue postseason play and a berth in the state tournament with the regular season winding down, the coach added.
Middle Park will face an undefeated Arrupe Jesuit on the road Wednesday.
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