By Steve wilaj
After watching his team miss numerous shots wide left, wide right and off the goal posts, Austintown Fitch coach Brian Stiles came to a conclusion.
“Sometimes the soccer gods look down upon you and it’s just not your night,” he said.
Apparently it was Poland’s night.
Sandwiching an early goal with a late goal and plenty of defense in-between, the Bulldogs defeated Fitch, 2-0, Thursday night at Falcon Stadium.
“You still have to give credit to Poland,” Stiles said. “They played well.”
It took only a minute and 19 seconds for the Bulldogs (5-1-1) to score when Jacob Roemer found the back of the net.
“It was a great ball by Anthony Sabula putting it right across the frame of the goal,” Poland head coach Brian Garcar said. “Jake had enough composure to finish it off.”
From then on, both teams had plenty of scoring opportunities but came up empty.
For instance, Poland’s Steve Bissell missed an open goal shot at the 1:15 mark of the first half. However, the Bulldogs defense and goalie Bryan Montgomery more than adequately made up for their scoring woes.
“Brian came up big for us once again. He made some really big saves when we needed them,” Garcar said. “Ian Lange and Kevin Cicuto, when we needed clearances, we got them. We did what we had to do and that’s what it came down to.”
Fitch tested Poland’s defense in the second half. With the Bulldogs clinging to a 1-0 lead, the Falcons (3-1-4) narrowly missed several shots.
“We moved a few guys up trying to get a goal, but for some reason tonight we kept hitting the post,” Stiles said. “They have some great senior leadership on defense, and as many guys as we could throw forward, they were handling the pressure.”
Roemer finally put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game in the 78th minute.
“It was all Steve Andrews,” Roemer said. “He made a great run and I just went off of him. It was a great pass.”
He added that Poland’s offense feeds off its stellar defense.
“We need our guys to do really good back there and Monty is playing great so far,” Roemer said. “So all of our defense is playing well – like one solid unit.”
Montgomery, a sophomore, finished with 11 saves. It was his second shutout in as many games.
“We rely on our seniors a lot,” Garcar said. “It’s a lot of communication, hard work and discipline throughout. They’ve really taken it upon themselves and one of our defense’s biggest goals is to have as many shutouts as we can this season.”