By Liz Matakevich
Shore Sports Network Contributor

An early offensive attack on Wall that left the team down a goal early only appeared to wake up the sleeping giant, as it rallied to score three unanswered goals to defeat Central Regional 3-1 in the opening round of the Shore Conference Tournament in Wall.

“I thought we played pretty well today,” Wall head coach Garry Linstra said. “We were a little slow coming out of the gate but we linked together some great passes and got it done with some strong defense.”

Central didn’t waste much time in the first half, quickly going to work to put together a goal in the 15th minute. Freshman Nate Wiley sent a big cross into the box to the waiting Blake Czajkowski, who headed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

The early one-goal deficit seemed to wake up Wall, which hadn’t had any big threats on net up to that point in the game.

Wall found a way to answer back, making a string of passes in the 20th minute from the defense all the way up to sophomore Gerardo Medina, who made a strong strike to score from the top of the box, making the score 1-1.

“My goal was definitely a team effort by everyone,” Medina said. “We started working together after Central scored on us and we were able to come right back.”

Central had a few opportunities to counterattack in the first half on a corner by Czajkowski and a break away by Douglas Jensen, but Wall would capitalize first.

The Crimson Knights grabbed the lead for the first time in the 28th minute when they went on an offensive front inside the box. Although surrounded by many Central defenders, Chris Barcas was able to get a shot off on the ground to score, putting them ahead 2-1 before the end of the first half.

“We definitely started to get more shots off towards the end of the first half,” Linstra said. “It was a nice team effort to get the first goal by Medina and Barcas came up big for us with the second goal to put us on top.”

The second half was a battle between both teams to secure the next crucial goal. Central was looking to come up with the equalizer goal early on, with Jensen getting a couple shots off on net that resulted in a big save from Wall goalkeeper Jack Wishart.

Wall had another very close chance to widen the score gap in the 53rd minute when Zach Hetzel got a shot off in front of the net that bounced off the crossbar, with Brendan Barcas getting the rebound shot that went out of bounds over the net.

The insurance goal for the Crimson Knights would finally come in the 67thminute when Dan Frisch-Harmon set up a cross to Zach Aylett in front of the net to score, 3-1. Central attempted a comeback towards the end of the second half, but Wall’s defense shut down the threat and pushed the Knights into the round of 16.

“I was really excited to get that final goal for my team today to solidify the win,” Aylett said. “It was nice to come out here today to win and move on to the next round.”

Wishart made seven saves for Wall and Central’s Bryan Jones made nine saves. Wall, which held a 12-8 shot advantage, will move to play Christian Brothers Academy on Saturday. Wall will try to reach the quarterfinal round for the second straight year after losing in the final eight to Jackson Memorial, 1-0, last year.

“We are absolutely looking to get back to that stage and come out with a win this time,” Aylett said. “We just have to play our game and come out strong.”

Box Score

Wall 3, Central 1

1

2

F

Central (9-3-1, 9-2-1)

1

0

1

Wall (10-1-6, 6-1-5)

2

1

3

Goals: (C) Czajkowski (Wiley) 15’; (W) Medina 20’, C. Barcas 28’, Aylett (Frisch-Harmon) 67’
Shots: Wall, 12-8
Saves: (C) Jones 9; (W) Wishart 7