September 16, 2012
Jim Wandling has only suffered two defeats during his first two-plus years as the Gray Bees soccer coach. One of those came two years ago against Sunday’s opponent, Chaminade.
Although some coaches might hold a grudge, coach Wandling said after his team’s 5-0 victory at Riverside Park over the New York school this time around that it had not provided extra motivation.
“We put that loss behind us a long time ago,” said Wandling, who lost the first game of his career against Chaminade in Sept. of 2010. He has now gone 49-1 since that ominous start, which includes a 24-0 mark and a National Championship in 2011.
The Gray Bees raced out to a 4-0 halftime lead against Chaminade on a pair of goals from senior Michael Olla and a goal apiece from Angel Josue Espana and Jose Maderos. Espana opened the scoring, converting a rebound off a shot by Jon Moraes, who stole the ball from a defender and unleashed a knuckling shot that the goalkeeper couldn’t handle in the 12th minute.
Olla got into the act soon after being inserted into the lineup in the 18th minute. He raced past a defender by pushing the ball forward with a header before hitting a shot that caromed right back to him off the goalie. He easily finished off his own rebound before notching his second multiple-goal game in as many outings by turning a feed from Espana into a goal just inside the near, right post nine minutes later.
Maderos capped the first half uprising by chipping the ball past the charging keeper in the 32nd minute.
The Gray Bees overcame some physical play of Chaminade and a narrower-than-normal field at Riverfront Park – a venue SBP experienced for the first time. Coach Wandling was proud of the way his team responded.
“We answered the challenge and let our play do the rest,” said the coach, who received a final goal from Moraes. The senior forward has scored at least one goal in all five games this season.
Chaminade coach Mike Gallagher said the key to St. Benedict’s victory was the overwhelming athleticism and skill of the Gray Bees squad.
“The key is our preparation in pre-season and throughout the early stages of the regular season,” said Wandling, whose team wore down the New York side as the game progressed.
Wandling said the first half of the game was well-executed due to the combination play and relentless attack of his team’s offense. He had some criticism for the second half of play, which featured that lone goal from Moraes.
“We could’ve done a better job of managing our possessions in the second half,” said Wandling.
Notes: The Gray Bees return to action on Thursday on the road in Hightstown against Peddie. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
--By Raheem Veal