Wallenpaupack Area's boys varsity soccer team is eyeing another playoff run
Wallenpaupack Area’s varsity boys squad closed the first half of their Lackawanna Soccer League schedule with a 5-2 record and rested in third place among Division I teams slightly back of Abington Heights (6-1) and Scranton Prep (5-1.)
Both the Comets and Cavaliers were the impetus behind the Buckhorns only losses so far. Aside from that, it’s been relatively smooth sailing for the Paupack lads.
Following the 3-1 loss to Prep at the Paupack home league opener, Paupack bounced back with a home shutout win over Delaware Valley and a road victory versus Valley View.
Hosting the Warriors on Sep.12, the Buckhorns posted a 2-0 win over their cross-county rivals with goals from Seniors Kasper Zaba-Poplawski and Peter McDermott.
Fellow seniors Arick Barker had an assist as Derrick Vosburg had six saves in goal.
The next day they tangled on the Cougars turf. Senior Anthony Raguso assisted on both of junior Izaiah Santiago’s goals while McDermott shook the net off a pass from freshman Ashton Struck.
The Cougars mounted a late comeback by sending two unanswered shots past the pipes, but the Bucks held them of for the 3-2 victory.
The Deer ran into some trouble the next afternoon against Abington Heights.
Three days in a row of play finally took its toll as the Comets were able to net four goals with no response from the Buckhorns.
“That really woke us up,” Head Coach Scott Bonagura said. “We were playing a non-league game the next day against Holy Redeemer and our guys went into that match with a new team approach.”
Four in a Row
The midday match versus Redeemer went very well for Paupack.
The Buckhorns put 21 shots on the Royals net, making four of them while only giving up two.
Santiago scored with an assist from Barker, senior Connor Barnes netted two goals each assisted by sophomore Konrad Zaba-Poplawski.
Finally, Kasper dumped one in the net with Konrad getting in on the assist.
The Bucks went through a rotation of keepers. Junior Anthony Ioppolo, Chris D’Andrea, and sophomore Ben Falgie each took a shift and collectively had eight stops.
Still at home on Sept. 18, Paupack welcomed local rivals Honesdale. In a 4-1 victory over the kids from the Maple City, Kasper Zaba-Poplawski had two goals and an assist while Barnes and McDermott each added a goal.
Vosburg stopped 10 shots by the Hornets, yielding just one.
The ‘Pack trucked on up to North Pocono on Sep.20 and turned out a 2-0 win.
Barnes assisted on a Kasper Zaba-Poplawski goal at the four-minute mark and Barker sent one into the net later in the match for insurance.
Vosburg stayed solid between the pipes for the shutout.
The Bucks blanked Scranton last Saturday at Memorial Stadium during a day match. Santiago passed to Kasper 15 minutes into the first half for the opening Paupack goal.
Two minutes before the break, McDermott sent one into Scranton’s goal with help from Kasper. Zaba-Poplawski, unassisted, accounted for the third Buckhorn goal of the day.
Vosburg registered seven saves, giving up none for the 3-0 win.
Rounding the Horn
Paupack started the second-half of the season with a solid win over a serious rival.
At Prep this past Tuesday, the Bucks gave up an early goal to the Cavaliers but rallied back from the 1-0 deficit in the second half. Santiago connected to Kasper for the first goal and Kasper assisted Barnes on the go-ahead.
Vosburg racked up nine saves for Paupack and the team headed home with a 2-1 victory.
“This was a huge confidence builder for the kids,” said Bonagura. “An away win at Prep is tremendous, now we just have to carry the momentum forward.”
All told, the Bucks are racking up the points. Kasper Zaba-Poplawski leads the Buckhorns with seven goals and four assists, while Peter McDermott has tallied five goals.
Izaiah Santiago netted a pair and has two assists.
Checking in with one goal and one assist each is Arick Barker and while Connor Barnes has two nets and one assist.
Anthony Raguso has a trio of assists while Ashton Struck and Andrew Waz each have one.
Prior to the season Bonagura felt there was a lot of parity in the league.
His thoughts haven’t changed.
“I think it’s showing that we’re in the top half of the teams in the league,” he said. “But, the league is still very competitive. DV, North Pocono, and Honesdale all have young talent that is learning quickly how to play at the varsity level.
“We’re banged up a bit too but our seniors are stepping up and I think we’re seeing the effort we put into conditioning begin to pay off.”