Wallenpaupack Area's boys soccer team appears ready to challenge for a title
Weather washed out the scheduled soccer match with North Pocono, thus giving the Bucks a 4-day hiatus since tying Delaware Valley.
With a chilly wind blowing in from the lake, the Buckhorn boys hosted the Hornets for a Lackawanna League match-up Friday night.
Having tied their two league matches, Paupack was looking for its first win.
Similarly, the Hornets were also looking for a win since they took a 1-0 loss to North Pocono in their last league game.
So while the temperature may have been dropping like a brick, the action on the pitch red-hot.
On the Attack
Paupack wasted no time establishing that this was their turf.
The Bucks dominated the middle and advanced with haste into Hornet territory where they quickly challenged goalie Cole Stengel.
A shot by Casey Weis off a pass from Matthew Vosburg shook the net at 38:43 and the Bucks were off to an early 1-0 lead.
Honesdale re-grouped and mounted an assault, preferring to keep to keep to the sidelines and take shots from the outside seemingly as soon as they were within reasonable range.
While most shots either went wide or over the goal, it's not to say Thomas McLain wasn't getting a workout. He made some stellar saves throughout the first half, keeping the Bucks' lead secure.
After a few unbroken minutes of intense action the Purple & White struck again. This time it was Shayne McCormack who scored at 18:27 making it 2-0, Paupack.
Driven even more now to catch up, Honesdale turned up the heat and mounted several incursions deep into Paupack territory.
Traffic got heavy in front of the net and an errant maneuver by a Paupack player resulted in a handball call inside the box thus giving the Hornets a penalty kick. The shot was well placed and in spite of McLain's efforts to block it, Honesdale made good on the free kick with 3:21 remaining in the period.
Looking to boost their offensive power in the second half, McLain shed his keeper's gear and joined the frontline forces while Liam Cunningham took up tending the goal for the Bucks.
While Paupack pressure increased, Stengel remained steadfast in front of the Honesdale net blocking shot after shot. Eventually though, Joey Budnovitch would break through with help from Weis, netting the go-ahead goal at 11:50.
Both teams battled well through the remainder of the half. Neither showed signs of letting up as the minutes gradually elapsed.
However, Paupack continued to dominate, winning key battles and maintaining control while the Hornet defense did a good job of clearing balls out of their zone.
With 1:25 left in the match, McCormack added some insurance for the Buckhorns on a shot off a pass from Budnovitch to make it 4-1.
While play continued, the sting was taken out of the Hornets and the last few seconds fell off the clock with no serious effort by either side.
It was a done deal and another chapter in the annals of Lake Region soccer rivalry had come to a close marking the Bucks' fifth consecutive win over the Hornets.
"We were getting ready for this game all week," said senior Shayne McCormack.
Excited to play a night game on the stadium turf McCormack added that hard practice all week, focusing on taking shots really helped.
"This kind of win is truly a team effort," he said.
Paupack head coach Scott Bonagura was quick to praise players on both sides.
"The kids did a good job, on both sides," he said.
"Both teams showed a lot of physical play, worked hard, and wanted to win."
Excited with the victory, Bonagura seemed equally impressed with the skill level and balance of the teams throughout Division 2 this season.
The caliber of play among the teams in the area has gone up and if the early season showdowns are any indication of what is yet to come it will be an exciting year indeed.