Boys Soccer: Patience becomes a virtue to score points for Commerce Fisk, Radnor

NETHER PROVIDENCE — For more than 70 minutes Tuesday, the Radnor boys soccer team pressured Strath Haven almost every time they had the ball in their own half. Despite all this effort, they created plenty of chances, but none penetrated Haven’s stubborn defense.

It’s bad enough that the message from Radnor’s bench remained was just one – the only time the Raptors matched the right turnover with the right move in the final period.

It took 75 minutes, but the reward was worth the effort.

A turnover on the sideline in the 75th minute started the decisive sequence that led to a Commerce Fisk goal and a 1-0 victory over the Panthers.

“The advantage of our team is hard work,” Fisk said. “This goal is the best example of that. He focuses on attacking, on every ball and looking for every possible way to get the ball into the net. You can feel it on the sidelines, it’s just fantastic.”

The goal started like many of Radnor’s empty possessions in the afternoon: under pressure, midfielder Matt Santerian and striker Roman Rivera turned on a Haven defender near the sideline. It was Santerian who dribbled towards the penalty area, cutting off a pass straight to Fisk, who passed it to fellow striker Andrew Marino. His shot was saved with a big left hand by Haven goalkeeper Will Hall. However, Fisk collected the ball the quickest, tucking the ball in and lifting Radnor (5-1, 2-0 center).

“The goalkeeper catches the ball with his hand and I come in and try to hit it with my right foot,” Fisk said. “And I was lucky to finish it.”

Radnor created better chances throughout the afternoon. He controlled the field with seven corner kicks in the first half and Haven failed to take any. After the break, the Panthers (3-4, 1-2) responded to the even tempo of the game, but did not create much of a threat.

The Raptors were unlucky not to take the lead early. Part of that was due to Hall, who made five saves. Late in the first half he hit Michael Savadove’s header inches from the crossbar after a corner kick, and in the 70th minute he scored a cross from Jack Ennis when Ennis broke free on a counter-attack.

“I’ve played with him my whole life and he’s one of the best goalkeepers I’ve ever played with,” Haven forward Noah Plunkett said of Hall. “He is amazing at the club when I played with him. Today he was great. It was unfortunate that they scored on the rebound.”

The Raptors rejected several counter-attacks created under pressure, and Ennis fired a shot wide of the net a minute into the second half with the outside of his right boot to Marino, and Fisk took a 2-on-1 past the defeated defense in the 64. Marino selflessly made up with Fisk rather than take it himself.

This year, one goal was enough for Radnor. All five victories ended in a draw, with the only defeat being a 3-1 result against Downingtown East. The Raptors have three seniors in Savadove, Jake Bowman and Aidan Damiani, who constitute a three-man defense that controls space beautifully. With Savadove’s aerial command, Bowman’s speed, and Damiani’s telescopic reach to block passing lanes, it’s a powerful combination. Nate Lucchesi provides a strong shield in the midfield, and both Lucchesi and Damiani created opportunities with their serves from the back.

“We have three senior center backs there, two of them are captains and we lock them all down,” Damiani said. I think we have a strong defense and I think we will keep it strong for the rest of the season.”

Strath Haven created more chances after the break, forcing five saves from Jake Barber, although none of them were particularly difficult. The biggest one came in the 51st minute. Barber charged behind his line, kicking Gabe Broome’s shot down the left channel. He connected Plunkett’s header with both hands after a free kick in the 76th minute.

Radnor’s payment for his efforts in defense has been delayed. But when it came, it turned out to be worth the wait.

“You strive for goals, but it doesn’t work out,” Fisk said. “But then that motivation comes: I want to score, I want to score, because look how fantastic it was. That’s what keeps us going.”

Also in the Central League:

Upper Darby 2, Penncrest 1 >> Dante Cholmeley-Jones scored for a Lions team that narrowly missed out. Details regarding the Royals have not been released.

Marple Newtown 2, Garnet Valley 1 >> Aran Trainor’s penalty kick in extra time secured the win for the Tigers. Dante Scarduzio also scored for Marple.

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