BKW soccer underachieves in home opener
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Incoming! Junior Nick Nagengast leaps into the air to try to head a soccer ball for Berne-Knox-Westerlo during its season-opening game in Berne against Schoharie on Wednesday. Nagengast scored a goal, but the Bulldogs lost, 6 to 2. Chris O’Neil, right, also scored for the Indians.
BERNE — A slew of question marks are hovering around the Berne-Knox-Westerlo soccer team after it gave up six goals to Schoharie during the home opener on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs are returning nine starters and 14 total players from the 2012 team, so Head Coach Jim Gillis hoped that yesterday’s 6-to-2 loss to the Indians was just an anomaly. BKW didn’t give up six goals during any game last season; something went terribly wrong on Wednesday.
“I didn’t think this team was capable of playing that badly,” Gillis said after the game. “I would have bet my property in Maine that this team wouldn’t give up six goals, but we did, so…we can blame the offense, the defense, or whatever we want, but we gave up six goals. You can’t win that way.”
Junior Nick Nagengast, who scored for BKW off a deflection in the second half, said that Schoharie gave the Bulldogs a “beating.”
BKW had controlled the first 10 minutes of the game, but then everything went downhill.
Will Vedder scored on a shot from 20 yards out for the Indians, and then James Sacket headed in a cross from Devon Brooks.
“I thought we came out strong, but once they [Schoharie] put one in and piled on the goals, our morale went down, and then that was that,” Nagengast said. “The beating got worse.”
With 15 minutes left in the first half, Sacket put in another goal off a cross from Richie Martino. Schoharie was having fun while BKW showed a lack of effort.
Gillis gave his players a stern talking to at halftime, saying that the first half was “horrendous.” When he asked if anyone had any questions, you could hear a pin drop.
“It was definitely nothing to be proud of, and it’s kind of embarrassing,” said Nagengast. “You come back, and everyone has their head down; no one is really saying, ‘Come on, guys,’ or anything like that. It’s like everyone was dead.”
During his halftime speech, Gillis expressed hope that the Bulldogs wouldn’t give up any more goals. However, Brooks scored five minutes into the second half off an excellent pass by Martino that split two BKW defenders.
“We didn’t practice well yesterday [Tuesday], and I don’t know if they came out here thinking they could roll or what,” said Gillis of his players, “but, if they did think that, it’s not in their heads anymore.”
In recent years, Schoharie has played well. On Wednesday, the Indians were the hungrier team, hustling for balls and making quicker steps. Chris O’Neil increased the tally, 5 to 1, after scoring on a rebound.
“We didn’t play well, collectively, as a team,” Nagengast said. “We didn’t move together, there was no connection; everyone was on a different page. It was not very good.”
Gillis told The Enterprise that BKW is capable of possessing the soccer ball, but the team kept coughing it up on Wednesday. “We didn’t work,” he said. “Then, we over touch the ball and get stripped at midfield. We knew their forwards were quick, but we kept diving for the ball, so they ran by us.”
Also, some Bulldogs’ players had trouble staying with their marks, keeping tabs on a particular player.
With 17 minutes left in regulation play, the Indians penetrated the defense again. The ball went out wide, and Morgan Henry took the open shot, which went into the goal off the hands of goalkeeper Trevor Haack.
Nagengast said that Coach Gillis was disappointed; a 6-to-2 score shouldn’t be something that’s associated with BKW, especially during the season opener at home.
Gillis expected better; he had all of his “star” players back with the team.
“This is probably the worst game that I’ve seen them play,” said Gillis. “If Schoharie had something to do with it, then we’re in trouble because we’re not a very good team. No one should be beating us that bad.”
The Bulldogs scored a goal with 45 seconds left, meaning the team didn’t give up entirely. Still, Gillis says that BKW will be having the hardest practice that it has ever had today.
“We’re going to have to straighten out our defense; that’s where it all starts,” Nagengast said. “We’ll work really hard in practice, I assume. Hopefully, Coach will get us back in line.”
It was an atrocious start to the 2013 for the Bulldogs, but there is time to recover.
“We got outworked badly today,” Gillis said on Wednesday. “I pride myself in preparing my team to work hard, but we got outworked. I’ll take the blame.”