Boys soccer shows effort
If their first two games are a barometer for the rest of the season, Whitehall's boys' soccer team will be in the thick of the race in the new East Penn Conference (EPC) this fall.
The Zephyrs opened their season last Saturday when they split a pair of games at the Brandywine Tournament. It proved to be a productive weekend for the Zephyrs and their first-year head coach Chris Bastidas.
Whitehall dominated host Brandywine, 5-1, in their opener, before they dropped their second game on the afternoon to Kutztown, 2-0.
"Overall, we played well and I was pleased with our effort," said Bastidas, who coached the Bethlehem Catholic girls' program last season. "We had two games in a day, so we wanted to get up early on them (Brandywine) and then try to rest for our second game.
"We came out and we just did that as we scored a couple of early goals and managed to take over the game. We went out to a 5-0 lead before they scored at the end. It was a solid effort in every phase of the game for us.
"In the second game, we knew we would have a tough game against a very good Kutztown team. They (Kutztown) caught a break when they scored off a free kick and then they added another goal in the first half.
"But we made adjustments in the second half and we really had them back on their heels. We had good ball movement against them, but we just couldn't find the net. We were pressing in the second half and I was proud on how we didn't let down especially since it was our second game."
Mike Saccani and Brian Heckman each had a pair of goals for the Zephyrs. Bastidas also cited the play of Javaughn Hussett and goalie Chase Missmer. He added Heckman could be sidelined for a week with a recurring back injury. Heckman left the Kutztown game in its opening minutes due to back pain.
"Brian (Heckman) has been bothered with his back for a while," said Bastidas. "He (Heckman) was in pain, so we decided to take him out before things got worse. He might be out of the lineup this week because we want to have him rest and be healthy for the rest of the season."
With the new EPC lineup, the Zephyrs will be thrust into the first of many busy weeks ahead as they face Freedom (Wednesday), Easton (Friday), and Dieruff (Saturday). However, Bastidas is confident his club will respond and rise above the .500 mark from last year's season (7-9-2) and take a stance in the conference.
"The kids have responded well and they have confidence in themselves," added Bastidas. "We have looked good and we expect plenty of good things this season."