HOLLAND—In the later stages of double overtime Tuesday night, Maxx Solly hit the crossbar off a free kick. The ball ricocheted toward the playing field and almost off the opposing goalkeeper’s grasp. It was the closest either team would come to scoring in a 0-0 tie that earned the Griffins boys soccer team a point in the standings at Holland Sept. 4.
At the other end, Joe Jablonski earned the shutout behind a stout defense that continues to improve. In each of Springville’s four games this season, the Griffs have shutout the opposition for the opening half’s 40 minutes. The first three contests were settled in the second half and for the first time this season Springville did not allow a goal in the second half.
Including both overtimes against Holland, Jablonski logged 100 minutes total of shutout play by often making the right gamble against the opposition for loose balls in the field when it looked like it might be a partial breakaway and great scoring opportunity for Holland.
“I want my goalies to be aggressive, but not too aggressive,” head coach Tom Szczerbacki said. “I’ve got three solid goalkeepers, anyone of them could play.”
Helping the goalkeepers has been the rise of defensive play for Szczerbacki’s team.
“My back four are coming together, they’re playing much better as a unit. I liked Wyatt Fuller and Mike Sobota back there in the middle,” Szczerbacki said. “My center midfielder and Jake Schreiber were also solid. Austin Walker got back from injury and did great tonight, he’s going to be a nice addition. I was also impressed with Dakota Shelble, he stepped it up.”
While the defense is more than holding its own, it’s the offense that has Szczerbacki worried.
“We just haven’t been able to find the back of the net,” the coach said. “Our effort has been there, we’re playing hard. I told them both at halftime and at the end of regulation, I think we can play better and we have been playing better and I think they picked it up at the end. [Solly] doesn’t stop. He loses the ball and goes and gets it back.”
Prior to the tie at Holland, Springville suffered a 3-0 loss to Tonawanda Aug. 31. The game was decided in the second half with a pair of Tonawanda goals with the third goal coming in the final minute.
Andrew Jenis had an impressive week in practice and earned the start in goal.
“He was solid, very sold, no fear back there,” Szczerbacki said of Jenis. “We actually played a nice game, but again we just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Adam Pruitt hasn’t seen any action in net so far this season due to any injury, but Szczerbacki believes he is getting close to seeing his first start.