Sure, Mountain View made errors. Three of them. Big ones.
Each time, Scranton Prep put the ball in the back of the net. In a span of 97 seconds, for all intents and purposes, Tuesday’s game, the Lackawanna League Division 2 boys soccer opener, was over.
Now the bigger question: Is the division race over, too?
Seems ridiculous to pose that supposition after just one game. And Prep coach Sean Curry will be looking for my phone number when he reads this. But honestly, the Cavaliers were so impressive that despite the fact Curry said plenty of work is ahead, it’s not hard to see Prep running the table with a second straight undefeated league season.
Tuesday’s game at Lakeland features last year’s Division 1 champ, Prep, against last season’s Division 3 winner. If I was a betting sort of fellow, I’d be going with the team that has played the more difficult schedule against bigger opponents for years. Those kind of games should have toughened Prep for even a difficult road test.
And in its opener, Prep surely made a statement.
“A lot of our passes were perfect,” said Kyle Zaboski, who scored a pair of goals for the Cavaliers. “We found runs that we wouldn’t have found.”
Certainly ones they didn’t get to show off in practice, but that’s not a surprise to Curry.
“They’re going against guys (in practice) who know the pattern and know what we’re trying to do,” Curry said. “So, the first-team guys and the first couple guys off the bench never get a chance to try the things we’ve been talking about in practice until you get live competition.”
When that came to fruition, Prep’s passing and the runs were in synch.
“The division is going to have a lot of parity but Prep should be the quality of the division, and today we gave them way too many chances to do well,” Mountain View coach Roger Thomas said.
Those chances come, in part, because of reputation. In a way, it’s like traveling to play Berwick football in George Curry’s heydey. You knew you had to play a perfect game to have a chance to win, and that sort of pressure tends to accentuate your flaws.
Mountain View saw that.
“We played well with them for 15 minutes out of 80,” Thomas said. “We made lots of mistakes and we have lots of weaknesses that have to be overcome.”
But there is good news for Mountain View. It’s a Class A school playing a very competitive schedule, and that gives the Eagles a chance to be good when it matters — late in October.
“I do believe the basis is there for a good team, but it’s going to come down to the guts, the heart and the coachability of the players to see if they can come to the level that I know is potentially there,” Thomas said.
Prep doesn’t have that problem. The potential and talent levels match. That will create major headaches for the other teams in Division 2.