CHEEKTOWAGA – The Springville-Griffith Institute varsity boys soccer team got a long overdue win against Maryvale Sept. 29 for its first win of the year. In a season where 75 percent of its games were one-goal affairs, the snake-bit Griffs usually found themselves on the short end of the final score.
As easy as it would have been to give up on such a frustrating season, the team continues to play with reckless abandon as evidenced by their most recent games. Putting aside a loss to undefeated, league-leading and state-ranked East Aurora; five of the team’s last contests had a one-goal (or less) outcome.
Against Maryvale, Alec Harrigan scored the only goal of the contest early off a Mike Krezmien cross with Adam Pruitt earning the shutout in net in the 1-0 win.
The team traveled to Cheektowaga Oct. 4 and dropped another heartbreaker 2-1. Krezmien had rallied the team to tie the contest before the half, but the Warriors converted a penalty kick in the final minutes to get the win. In the game’s final minute, Maxx Solly came close to sending the game to overtime when his shot hit the crossbar.
“I liked our effort today,” head coach Tom Szczerbacki said, who was both disappointed and surprised by the late call that ultimately decided the game.
“I thought it was a pretty clean play. [The officials] had been letting calls like that go all game and then to call that in the final minutes was disappointing. From my angle it was a nice tackle, but then again maybe they sold [the call.]”
The game was extremely physical with few whistles to counter that physicality up until the very end. To Springville’s credit, the team fought toe-to-toe and appeared more inspired as the game wore on with no players backing down. Springville was led in that department by Matt Sion, who was both on the giving and receiving ends of some of the heaviest contact on the afternoon.
“Matt’s got such a huge heart and he wants to win so bad that it really hurts him when we lose and I love that competitiveness about him,” Szczerbacki said.
“I think we’re starting to knock the ball around a little bit better. Too many times we want to go, go, go. We did a better job possessing the ball and changing things up today,” Szczerbacki said. “ We’re seeing the field better and our play has gotten better. My midfielders are doing an outstanding job, especially Maxx Solly and Michael Spagnola, who’s been fantastic. He just goes and goes and goes; he doesn’t stop.”
The team will continue on the road at Pioneer Oct. 5 with a 5 p.m. start followed by a weekend contest at Lakeshore Oct. 7 at 11 a.m. Next week the team will host Iroquois for Senior Night Oct. 11 with a 5 p.m. start before finishing the regular season with a non-conference game against St. Francis Oct. 17.