The Buckhorns are off to a 5-1-0 start in Lackawanna League action
Week One of Lackawanna League play proved to be eventful for the Wallenpaupack Area varsity soccer team.
After taking the title at their Labor Day weekend Lakeside Classic, the Buckhorns surged through a stormy opening league match at Valley View to emerge with an overtime win.
They then turned in an equally impressive effort against Abington Heights, only to suffer a 1-0 loss.
Week Two of league action, however, proved to more fruitful for the Purple and White.
Putting the loss to the Comets behind them, the Bucks ventured to North Pocono on Sept. 12.
On the pitch against and admittedly young Trojans team, the Paupack lads posted a blistering 7-0 win.
Conner Barnes first half goal was assisted by Kasper Zaba-Poplawski and the game went to halftime with Paupack in the lead, 1-0.
Following the break, the Bucks exploded.
A pass from Barnes to Izaiah Santiago made it 2-0 and an unassisted net shaker by Peter McDermott put Paupack up 3-0.
An own goal by the Trojans widened the gap to 4-0 before Santiago scored once again, this time with an assist from Seth Franklin who was taking a break from his usual goal tending position to play the field.
Prior to that, he made a pair of saves.
The commanding lead allowed Head Coach Scott Bonagura to get some of his younger talent on to the pitch, and they too played well. Jake Carruba and Steven Barone each netted unassisted goals, ultimately bringing the tally to 7-0.
“We’ve been playing well and everything is clicking,” said senior mid-fielder Eric Barczyk. “Seth has been outstanding in the goal especially for someone who never played that position before this year.”
Riding the wave from the big win against North Pocono, Paupack welcomed West Scranton on Sept. 14.
The Buckhorns dazzled their home crowd by netting five goals to the Invaders one. However, things started out rough for the Bucks as West went up a goal early in the match.
Before the end of the first half, Franklin, took a pass from Barczyk to tie it at 1-1. Later, with help from Zaba-Poplawski, Santiago sent one into the net to give Paupack the 2-1 lead.
Keeping the momentum up in the second half, the Purple & White surged ahead with three unassisted goals from Fanklin, Santiago, and Zaba-Poplawski.
West Scranton scrambled to mount a counterattack on occasion, but largely Paupack dominated the field and kept the Invaders contained.
“We’ve been working at spreading out the other team and getting our defense involved more,” commented Santiago.
“As a striker, I’ve rely on the whole team feeding me the ball, so I owe a lot to the other players.”
The Buckhorns made it three-in-a-row this past Tuesday evening.
At home again, they kept pace on the pitch with a speedy Scranton squad. Franklin, in the net this occasion, made some spectacular saves off the hot feet of the Knights.
Stiff defense on the part of Scranton kept the Bucks from making any shots from the field, but the Paupack plan to keep the Knights’ backfield off-balance paid off in another way … twice.
The Electric City lads made fatal flaws inside the 18 that gave the Buckhorns two opportunities for penalty kicks in the first half. Zaba-Poplawski nailed the first and Barczyk booted in the second.
The 2-0 score stood through the remainder of the game and gave the Bucks a 4-1 league record.
“Scranton kept pressure on us the entire game,” Bonagura said. “We had to get behind their defense and put ourselves in dangerous positions.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our defense, especially Shane Weis our sweeper and Andrew Waz, our stopper. They have developed a great relationship and are really keeping things together in the back.”
The Buckhorns wrap up this home stand on Tuesday, Sept. 28 when Valley View pays a visit.
That contest will mark Wallenpaupack Youth Soccer Appreciation Night.
Prior to the 6 p.m. kick-off against the Cougars, youth league players will join the high school teams on the field for the opening ceremony and at halftime the youngsters will have a shootout for prizes.
Paupack travels to DDV on Sept. 30 and welcomes North Pocono on Oct. 2 before heading to West Scranton on Oct. 4.